The earliest known hominid was Sahelanthropus tchadensis, represented only by relatively few fossilised skull fragments, he is so ancient it isn’t clear whether he could truly be considered human at all. Fossils found in Chad, dated to around 7 million years old, may have belonged to a direct human ancestor, or more likely to a neighbouring branch of the ape family tree. This uncertainty is common until around 4 million years ago; many species are known only by partial skeletons and the relationships between them are often unclear. The Australopithecines may be the first group of hominids that we can be said to understand to any extent.
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