Lucy’s fossils were discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia and according to the experts, they are approximately 3.2 million years old.
However, a new scientific study suggests that the famous skeleton nicknamed Little Foot, which was discovered in South Africa more than 20 years ago, is actually older than Lucy by at least 500,000 years.
In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers involved in the study used a state-of-the-art dating technique to determine how old are the skeleton remains of Little Foot.
It looks like the fossils are no less than 3.67 million years old, according to the scientists.
They also analyzed a few stone tools that were unearthed in the same region where Little Foot was found and discovered that they are approximately 2.18 million years old, which makes them the oldest stone tools ever discovered.
The researchers detailed the findings of their new study in the journal Nature.
Ronald Clarke, one of the researchers involved in the study and a professor at the University Witwatersrand, the department of Evolutionary Studies Institute, was the one to discover Little Foot’s fossils.
Professor Clarke believes that Little Foot belongs to Australopithecus Prometheus, which is a different species than Australopithecus afarensis.
According to Clarke, Little Foot proves that the later species of hominids, such as Paranthropus and Australopithecus africanus did not all derive from Australopithecus afarensis.
Clarke said that there are only a few of these discoveries and scientists tend to base their evolutionary theories on the fossils that have been found so far.
But Little Foot’s new dating represents a reminder that there could have been many other species of Australopithecus extended across the African continent.
Previous studies suggested that Little Foot was 2 to 4 million years old, meaning that it had existed at the same time as the Australopithecus.
The new dating technique was originally used by NASA to analyze solar wind samples.
The technique was invented by Darryl Granger, a scientist at the University of Purdue.
Granger stated that the new method can tell the scientists if the bones or the rocks have remained the same since the time of their burial.
Although much more expensive than previous dating methods, this technique is the most accurate and could be the future of burial dating, according to Granger and his team.
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