Comparing the fossil hand bones of the hominid Australopithecus afarensis (left) with the bones of a modern human shows that the Afar hominids were probably as dextrous as we are. The closeness of the fit has been emphasised by including some A. afarensis fossil bones - recognisable by their distinctive colour - in with the modern bones. Large numbers of A. afarensis fossils were found in the Afar region of Ethiopia between 1973 and 1977. The fossils were found in deposits dating from 2.6 to 3.3 million years ago. A. afarensis is thought to represent the oldest ancestor of modern man. The australopithecines ranged throughout Africa from 3.7 to 1.6 million years ago.
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