Reuters UK.Wed Apr 6, 2005 6:03 PM BST

The first reliable records of hominids, members of the human family distinct from chimpanzees and other apes, suggested they did not appear until about 5 million years ago.
But new evidence shows a 7 million year-old skull unearthed in Chad is the earliest member of the human family, scientists said Wednesday.
Controversy has surrounded the skull, dubbed "Toumai," since its discovery was first reported in 2002 by a team led by Michel Brunet of the University of Poitiers in France.
It was hailed as arguably the most important fossil discovery in living memory because it was thought to be an ancient ancestor of modern humans, although some scientists argued it was a fossil of a female ape.

But newly found remains of tooth and jaw fragments and a computer reconstruction of the skull, reported in the science journal Nature, suggest Toumai was more human than ape.
"Toumai is not a chimp. Toumai is not a gorilla," Brunet told Reuters. "It is perfectly clear Toumai is a hominid."
But newly found tooth and jaw fragments, and a computer reconstruction of the skull, reported in the science journal Nature, suggest Toumai was more human than ape.
Also a separate report in the journal, Brunet, Ponce de Leon and their colleagues said newly found dental and jaw fossils from the same time as Toumai do show differences between it and African apes.
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"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.