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is a hominid, it broadens the geographic range from which hominids are known: Lake Chad is well outside the region where previous fossil hominids have been found, and 7 million years ago the environment there would have been a third ancient hominid, which some scientists place in the genus Australopithecus.

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But at that time this view was anathema to many, since the majority of people still accepted the concept of special creation. Rather than accept the fossil as the remains of a human ancestor, the distinguished German scientist R.

Interestingly, the data also raise the possibility that the two new species may have hybridised for some time after their initial separation (Patterson et al. Its discoverers place it in the hominid family tree, and describe it as bipedal.

This suggests that bipedalism in hominids evolved very early indeed.

This is very close indeed to the likely human-chimpanzee split.

Michel Brunet's team describe Sahelanthropus as a hominid, for reasons including the shape and angle of the face and skull, and its dentition.

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