Archaeologists searching for older "Lucy"

Archaeologists studying human origins in eastern Ethiopia say a wealth of new finds mean they can hope to discover even older and more complete specimens than the famous fossil "Lucy".

The scientists excavating fossils in Ethiopia's eastern region of Somali for the last two years said on Wednesday they had unearthed 1,000 specimens of archaeological finds which included stone tools, fauna remains and elephant tusks.

Also uncovered were 400 fauna and primate remains in Galile, a village 360 km (215 miles) east of the capital Addis Ababa. "Our goals for the future are to find more complete hominid specimens probably from an older time frame than that of Lucy," Gerhard Weber, professor of Anthropology at University of Vienna, Austria, said in a statement.

Lucy is Ethiopia's world-acclaimed archaeological find, dug up in 1974 in an almost complete hominid skeleton estimated at least 3.2 million years old. Hominids are the family of primates of which humans, homo sapiens, are the only surviving species, report &to=' target=_blank>

"Galile is an important opportunity in Ethiopia as well as within the East African Rift to study human origin," Weber said. Weber heads the international team composed of researchers from the U.S, Germany and Ethiopia. He described Galile as an area with high potential to find hominid remains in a more complete and preserved status.

"These discoveries make the knowledge of human evolution to be better understood," Hasen Said, an Ethiopian archaeologist and associate member of the international team, said. Three hominid teeth, one believed to be nearly four million years old, were also discovered in Galile, the scientists said.

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