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Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Bradshaw Foundation Origins Archive
 
Sahelanthropus tchadensis is an extinct hominid species that is dated to about 7 million years ago. In terms of paleoanthropology and the origins of human evolution, including it in the Hominina evolutionary tree is still controversial, because its classification is older than the human-chimpanzee divergence of 6.3 to 5.4 million years ago, and the specimens are few. The partial cranium, discovered in Chad in 2001 by Michel Brunet and his team, is known as Toumaï, meaning 'hope of life'. [Brunet et al. 2002].
SAHELANTHROPUS TCHADENSIS
SAHELANTHROPUS TCHADENSIS
Sahelanthropus tchadensis Chad Africa
Genus: Sahelanthropus
Species: Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Other Names: Toumaï (Hope of Life)
Time Period: 7 million years ago
Characteristics: Pre-Human/Chimanzee Divergence
Fossil Evidence: Skull Cranium, Chad, Africa

SAHELANTHROPUS TCHADENSIS

 
The braincase - 380 cm3 - is similar to that of extant chimpanzees, and the teeth, brow ridges and the flatter facial structure differ greatly to those found in Homo sapiens. The cranial remains alone cannot indicate if Sahelanthropus tchadensis was bipedal.
 
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Sahelanthropus may represent a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. However, if Toumaï is a direct human ancestor, then its facial features bring the status of Australopithecus into doubt because its thickened brow ridges were reported to be similar to those of some later fossil hominids - such as Homo erectus - whereas this morphology differs from that observed in all australopithecines, most fossil hominids and extant humans.