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20-million-year-old skull unearthed in Uganda

09-21-2011 09:05 BJT

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Scientists from Paris have unearthed a 20-million-year-old skull in Uganda. The find is expected to help with a new addition to the primates' family picture as well as human ancestry.

Found amidst layers of sediment beneath the volcanoes of the Karamoja region, scientists said the Ugandapithecus skull is the most complete of its kind to have ever been unearthed. The discovery of the skull represents the culmination of more than 25 years of arduous work and research.

Martin Pickford, paleontologist, said, "It's the first time we've got a real good sample of Ugandapithecus Major. Before that, it was known by jaw fragments, isolated teeth, a few postcranial bones. But here, we really have a good idea for the first time of what the whole skull might have looked like."

The fossil's position between various volcanic levels allows scientists to put an age to the skull. And despite the lack of tissue for DNA analysis, Pickford estimates its age at around 20 million years.

The discovery is also important in that it marks the first year of archeological excavation in Uganda without the need for military escorts.

Elizabeth Paula Napeyok, Ugandan Ambassador to France, said, "I think Uganda, you know, after so many years of turmoil and conflict, this was like a real discovery, you know. There's something coming out of Uganda. I think it will help our people to look back and see where we came from."

Paleontologist said the discovery would allow scientists to fill a gap in the lineage of primates.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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