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Video: Human ancestor ‘Lucy’ may have had a neighbor, new fossils suggest

“Lucy,” arguably the world’s most famous human ancestor, had a crosstown rival, according to a new batch of fossils reported Thursday in the journal Nature.

Archaeologists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History discovered the bones in March 2011 — approximately 20 miles from the excavation site in Hadar, Ethiopia, where Lucy was unearthed four decades ago. The ancient bones comprise two upper jaw and two lower jaw fragments and now dictate a new species of hominid, or great ape, called Australopithecus deyiremeda.

Upper jaw of Australopithecus deyiremeda, new species of Hominidae, found on March 4, 2011 in Ethiopia. Photo by Yohannes Haile-Selassie/Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Upper jaw of Australopithecus deyiremeda, a new species of hominid, found on March 4, 2011, in Ethiopia. Photo by Yohannes Haile-Selassie/Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The team believes that these primates roamed eastern Africa between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago around the same time as Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis, and her relatives. However, the scientific jury is still deliberating on whether or not this new species is a direct ancestor of you, me and other Homo sapiens.

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