Australopithecus sediba Two spectacular new hominid fossils found in a cave at Malapa in South Africa in 2008 and 2009 have been assigned to a new species, Australopithecus sediba ('sediba' means 'wellspring' in the local seSotho language). Discovered by a team led by Lee Berger and Paul Dirks, it is claimed by them to be the best candidate yet for an immediate ancestor to the genus Homo . The fossils are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old, about the same date of the oldest Homo erectus fossils. The first fossil, MH1, found by Lee Berger's son Matthew, is an almost complete skull and partial skeleton of an 11 to 12 year old boy. The second fossil, MH2, is a partial skeleton of an adult female, including some jaw fragments. The boy's brain has a typical australopithecine size of 420cc, compared to the smallest Homo brain of 510cc. Both skeletons are small, about 130cm (4'3") tall. Au. sediba is most similar to, and quite likely descended from, Au. africanus . The upper limbs are long, and similar to other
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