The Japan Times
November 14, 1999

Fossil remains of hominid found, 3 million years old

PARIS (AFP-Jiji) Fossil remains of a hominid dating back more than 3 million years have been found in Chad, French paleontologist Michel Brunet said in an interview in Le Figaro daily on Saturday.

The find could change scientists' thinking on the origin and evolution of modern man, Brunet said, noting: "Our family tree has a lot more branches than was originally thought."

The latest remains were uncovered in an area where Brunet in 1995 had found the jaw of a hominid from about the same period 3-3.5 million years ago, proving that the first find was not an isolated discovery.

Brunet declined to give details of the latest remains, saying he intended to publish an account in a scientific journal.

Researchers had postulated that "Lucy," aged 3.2 million years and found in 1974 in Ethiopia's Afar region, was the earliest direct ancestor of man, but Brunet's latest finds may prove older.

Brunet dubbed his first find "Abel," and said that the supporting discovery just made meant "Abel" was "a good candidate to be man's ancestor."

Brunet works in the central African country of Chad, while other major finds in paleontology have come from areas around Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

He said his next goal was "to find the oldest hominid in history."