The human evolution timeline in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is well known for its human fossils, especially from the world famous “Lucy”. The newer discoveries extend Ethiopia’s fossil record even further back in time, and include the six million-year-old “Kadabba”, the 4.4 million-year-old “Ramidus”, the 3.4 million-year-old “first child” selam, and the 160,000 year-old “earliest modern human’ Homo Sapiens “Idaltu”. The most recent Ethiopian fossil to make the international headlines was the 10 million-year-old “Chororapithicus” which provides new information on when humans and apes might have diverged. Indeed, Ethiopia is the only country in the world, which possesses the fossils remains spanning the entire record of human evolution.

Chororapithecus Abyssinicus 10 million years ago

Known from the southern margin of the Afar rift, Ethiopia. Newly found in the years 2006 and 2007, the fossils were announced in August 2007 as a new species of African great ape that may be closely related to the modern gorilla. The human and African ape fossil record between 12 and 7 million years ago is scarce and only Chororapithecus and a few fragmentary jaws and teeth of similar material are known from Kenya. This is the time period when humans and apes must have diverged, and is therefore crucial to the understanding of when and how the humanline and relatives emerged. Although more material is needed, Chororapithecus shares with the modern gorilla not only the large size, but also some key features that suggest it is a primitive relative of the modern gorilla. Among modern and fossil large-sized apes, the modern gorilla is unique in having elongated molars with tall cusps and high crests for eating not only fruits but also fibrous stems and leaves.

Source: Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage