It could be time to make a little room on the human family tree. Joining the “Lucy” species, or Australopithecus afarensis
, is a new hominin: Australopithecus deyiremeda
. Paleoanthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie uncovered new fossils from this species in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Upper and lower jaw fossils indicate that the hominin likely lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago—meaning Lucy had some close-by company. The findings bolster increasing evidence of diversity in the middle Pliocene, casting further doubt on which hominin modern humans evolved from. Haile-Selassie and paleontologist Fred Spoor discuss what these findings
, published in Nature
this week, could mean for the history of human evolution.