The anthropologists say the new species of hominin is called Australopithecus deyiremedal and was unearthed in Kenya, the Woranso-Mille area, in the region known as Afar.
According to the experts, the newly found human ancestor is a close relative to the famous Lucy.
The human ancestor remains consist of jaw bones and teeth and scientists believe they belonged to four specimens that had both human and ape-like features.
The remains have been dated and according to the analysis, these human ancestors lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago.
In 1974, the scientists discovered a specimen of Australopithecus afarensisin Hadar, Ehiopia. They called it Lucy and it’s believed to be one of the first human ancestors that ever lived.
Lucy’s remains were found about 35 km north from the location where Australopithecus deyiremedal was unearthed.
Anthropologists believe that species lived approximately 2.9 to 3.8 million years ago during the Middle Pliocene age.
According to the experts, there are differences between Lucy and the new species of human ancestor, such as the size of the teeth.
Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie, one of the researchers involved in the discovery, explained that the newly-found human ancestor had very strong jaws but smaller teeth compared to other species of hominins, especially the canine teeth.
For a long time, researchers believed that there was only one species of human ancestor that existed between 3 and 4 million years ago.
However, the recent discoveries of Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya, Australopithecus bahrelghazali in Chad and the newly-found Australopithecus deyiremedal in Ethiopia, suggest that there was more than one species living at the same time as Lucy.
According to the study, there is incontestable evidence that several species of hominins lived at approximately the same time in eastern Africa in the Middle Pliocene.
The researchers wrote that what’s important now is to figure out how these species of hominins are related to each other and to later species of human ancestors.
Dr. Haile-Selassie believes that because of lack of fossil evidence to suggest there was a diversity of hominins in the middle Pliocene, many researchers assumed there was only one lineage.
The experts in human evolution believed Lucy was the only one and from her other species of hominins descended.
The findings were published in the journal Nature.
Image Source: sciencemag