In 1994 an Ethiopian member of a research team led by American paleoanthropologist Tim White discovered human fossils estimated to be about 4.4 million years old. White and his colleagues gave their discovery the name Ardipithecus ramidus. Ramid means “root” in the Afar language of Ethiopia and refers to the closeness of this new species to the roots of humanity. At the time of this discovery, the genus Australopithecus was scientifically well established. White devised the genus name Ardipithecus to distinguish this new species from other australopiths because its fossils had a very ancient combination of apelike and humanlike traits. More recent finds indicate that this species may have lived as early as 5.8 million to 5.2 million years ago. It has been suggested, however, that these older fossils may represent a related species called Ardipithecus Kadabba. Do you want to learn more or explore with your group?

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