In a real-life accident straight out of Indiana Jones, a young boy trips and falls while chasing his trusted dog Tau through high grass somewhere in remote South Africa and stumbles over the fossil remains an ancient boy -a new hominid species that lived two million years ago. The remains have been classified as Australopithecus sediba, a new species of early man that’s likely a descendant of Australopithecus africanus. Geologists estimated that the individuals lived 1.78 to 1.95 million years ago, probably closer to the older date, a period when australopithecines and early species of Homo were contemporaries.
What’s even more intriguing is how the boys father, Dr. Berger, used Google Earth technology to map identified caves and fossil deposits and to discover new caves via satellite imagery:
“With the help of the navigation facility and high-resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth, Professor Berger went on to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites, even though the area is one of the most explored in Africa. One of these fossil sites yielded the remarkable discovery of a new species, Australopithecus sediba. This species was an upright walker that shared many physical traits with the earliest known species of the genus homo — and its introduction into the fossil record might answer some key questions about our earliest ancestry in Africa.”
Do we smell a major movie deal coming soon?
Casey Kazan via The New York Times