Anthropologists believe that East Africa's Great Rift Valley is the site of humankind's origins. (The valley traverses Ethiopia from southwest to northeast.) In 1974 archaeologists excavating sites in the Awash River valley discovered 3.2-million-year- old fossilized remains if early hominids, the most famous of “Lucy” (Australopithecus Afarensis) considered the world’s oldest most complete and best preserved Australopithecus fossil. These earliest known hominids stood upright, lived in groups, and had adapted to living in open areas rather than in forests.
Ethiopia is accredited with being the origin of humankind, bones discovered in the eastern part of Ethiopia that displays the most significant discoveries of stone tools, fossil evidences of hominid species among which a 3.2 million years old fossil nick named LUCY or DENKINESH is the most famous and other animals found from the Awash rift valley and other animals found from the rift valley and other major archaeological sites (Hadar, Middle Awash, Omo basin, Melka Kunture etc) dating back to millions of years. These dating back to millions of years; these discoveries attest to the presence of a sophisticated way of life of our ancestors.
Different archeological findings revealed the country as the most important place for its human studies. Ardi (1992-1994): Older than Lucy, Ardi is the most complete skeleton of an early hominid. The first pieces of the 4.4-million-year-old Ardi were uncovered in 1992 by one of Tim White’s graduate students, Gen Suwa, in the Middle Awash Valley. White and his colleagues then spent more than 15 years digging Ardi out and analyzing the skeleton. The hominid did not look like Australopithecus, so the researchers gave it a new name: Ardipithecus ramidus. Although the species walked upright on two legs, its form of bipedalism was quite different from that of modern people or even Lucy. Its discoverers think Ardipithecus represents an early form of upright walking and reveals how apes went from living in the trees to walking on the ground.
Ardipithecus kadabba, An Ethiopian Archeologist found foot and other bones in the Middle Awash Valley that looked a lot like those of Ar. ramidus—only the bones were almost a million years older, with an age of about 5.8 million years. Teeth found in 2002 suggested the more ancient hominids deserved their own species: Ardipithecus kadabba was bipedal (walked upright), probably similar in body and brain size to a modern chimpanzee, and had canines that resemble those in later hominins but that still project beyond the tooth row. This early human species is only known in the fossil record by a few post-cranial bones and sets of teeth. One bone from the large toe has a broad, robust appearance, suggesting its use in bipedal push-off.). It remains one of the earliest known hominid species.
Dikika Child (2003): From the site of Dikika comes the fossil of an approximately 3-year-old A. afarensis child dating to 3.3 million years ago. Sometimes called Lucy’s baby or Selam, it’s the most complete skeleton of an early hominid child (The fossilized remains of this 3 year-old early human child are often referred to as belonging to ‘Lucy’s baby' since she was found only a few miles south from where Lucy was found Lucy over two decades earlier, even though the child's fossil is actually 100,000 years older than famous Lucy. She is nicknamed ‘Selam’ after the Amharic (Ethiopia’s official language) word for ‘peace,’ and is the most complete early human child known up until Neanderthal times.
Prior to Selam’s discovery, researchers knew very little about early human growth patterns as the early human fossil record consists of few children. Because Selam’s baby teeth erupted in a pattern similar to a three-year-old chimpanzee’s, researchers now know A. afarensis children shared a chimpanzee’s fast growth rate. But her brain size indicates that a human growth rate was evolving. CT-scans of her skull show small canine teeth forming in the skull, telling us she was female. Her partial skeleton is made up of a nearly complete skull and torso, and several limb bones---her legs indicate she could walk upright, but other skeletal features showed she could also climb trees. The hyoid bone beneath her neck looks ape-like, and her gorilla-like collarbone and long, curved fingers show significant tree-climbing.), including most of the skull, torso, arms and legs. The fossil’s discoverer, Zeresenay Alemseged, of the California Academy of Sciences, and colleagues say the fossils suggest A. afarensis grew up quickly like a chimpanzee but was beginning to evolve slower growth patterns like those of modern humans.