sign in a cave in Laos

16 April 2015

Little Foot & Lucy v Perak Man and Niah skull

Malaysia's oldest human remains are the skull at Niah, dated at about 40,000 years, and the complete skeleton of Perak Man which is about 11,000 years old. See my website.
The oldest 'confirmed' site of  human inhabitation in Malaysia is in the Lenggong Valley in Perak, said to be 200,000 years old (Bukit Jawa). And there is the controversial Bukit Bunuh meteor impact site that Malaysians claim to be 1.86 million years old, although as far as I am aware, no scientific reports have been published since the find in 2000.

Even if the age of Bukit Bunuh is correct, it is still far younger than the finds made in Africa.

The most famous African fossil is Lucy, from Ethiopia, a species of Australopithecus afarensis.

Little Foot, a member of the species Australopithecus prometheus / Australopithecus africanus, was found in the 1990s in the Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa. The nearly complete Little Foot fossil skeleton has recently been re-dated with new techniques and is roughly 3.7 million years old. It was the hardened sediments surrounding the fossil that gave this reading. If the skeleton is the same age, this means South Africa has the oldest existence of human evolution! However there is the possibility that the skeleton itself is not as old as the sediments that surround it.

Both species blended ape-like and human-like traits but with different features. They lived about the same time. However Lucy herself lived about 500,000 years later than Little Foot. Little Foot is also female and according to researchers, was bigger and taller than Lucy.

Little Foot has well over 90% of its bones intact, whereas the Lucy skeleton is only 40% complete and lacks a head.

They both come under the Homo genus. Our species of Homo, Homo sapiens, only appeared about 200,000 years ago.

It is interesting that at least two Australopithecus species lived at the same time in different parts of Africa, about 3.67 million years ago. Maybe there are more waiting to be found...........

See full reports in Nature (published online 1 April 2015 and Nat Geog News.

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