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Most scientists studying the newfound African skull think it lends strong support to hominid bushiness almost from the beginning. It is more commonly called Toumai, meaning "hope of life" in the local language.

In announcing the discovery in the July 11 issue of the journal Nature, Dr.

This is the account of the discovery of a skull that has the potential to change what we know about human evolution, and a suppression and cover-up which followed.

Two ancient skulls, one from central Africa and the other from the Black Sea republic of Georgia, have shaken the human family tree to its roots, sending scientists scrambling to see if their favorite theories are among the fallen fruit.

National Geographic Society This could be the face of the first human to leave Africa, the August issue of National Geographic magazine says.

Brunet's group said the fossils - a cranium, two lower jaw fragments and several teeth - promised "to illuminate the earliest chapter in human evolutionary history." The age, face and geography of the new specimen were all surprises.

About a million years older than any previously recognized hominid, Toumai lived close to the time that molecular biologists think was the earliest period in which the human lineage diverged from the chimpanzee branch.

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