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Human Ancestor's Skeleton Dated to 3 Million Years

For more than a decade, anthropologists have debated the age of the Australopithecus fossil called “Little Foot,” as they excavated the nearly complete skeleton of the extinct potential ancestor of humans. Now scientists say they have conclusively shown the specimen is about 3 million years old. A recent analysis of stone surrounding the fossils found evidence of the bones’ age and suggested Little Foot may be the oldest nearly complete Australopithecus skeleton ever found. Soon after the initial find, a magnetic study suggested the bones were 3.3 million years old. However, a 2006 study published in Science started an anthropological controversy when it suggested Little Foot’s bones were 2.2 million years old, based on the age of calcium-rich rocks surrounding the fossils. Two other later studies dated the skeleton to 2.35 and 2.58 million years ago, using a technique known as uranium-lead decay dating. Read More at Discovery News.

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