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Partial Skull Discovery Raises New Questions About Human Origins

Texas A&M anthropology professor is part of a team that discovered a child’s skull believed to be up to 250,000 years old in a South African cave.

An international team of researchers that includes a Texas A&M University anthropologist has revealed the partial skull of a young child who is believed to have died at least 250,000 years ago in a cave near Johannesburg, South Africa. The find raises critical new questions about the origins of the human species.

The study was led by Dr. Juliet Brophy, who received her PhD at Texas A&M University and now is now an associate professor at LSU. Dr. Brophy, along with Darryl de Ruiter, professor and head of anthropology at Texas A&M and 20 colleagues from 13 other universities, details the discovery in PaleoAnthropology, a leading open-access journal of anthropology.

The project shows the area and circumstances in which the skull – of a type of human ancestor called Homo naledi – was discovered. The team uncovered parts of the skull and teeth of the child who died when they were approximately 4 to 6 years old.

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