In 1974, it was found a shell that would teach us very much about how we became human.

the Skeleton was later named Lucy, was a woman who lived 3,18 million years ago. She has been the face outwards to the species Australopithecus afarensis.

A species that scientists believe is our common ancestor.

today we know quite a lot about Lucy. She looked like a monkey and was a meter high, but she also had similarities with the us people where she went on her two legs.

Researchers have always wondered about how similar the brains of her has been our. Until now we had little knowledge about this.

Now we have finally come a step further, telling one of the authors behind the study, Zeresenay Alemseged from the University of Chicago.

LUCY: So she may have looked like.

Photo: Montage

Our new results show how their brains evolved and were organized, ” says Alemseged in a press release.

the Skull from a child

the Researchers scanned eight different afarensis-skulls, and compared them with data from more than 1,600 modern humans and chimpanzees.

They have looked closer at the skull of the little girl who lived 3.3 million years ago. At the same time as Lucy and of the same nature.

She has been named Selam, but is also called the Dikika child after the site in Ethiopia. Selam may have lived to 150,000 years before Lucy.

SELAM: the Image shows a cast of the cranium to the girl who lived 3.3 million years ago.

Photo: Torfinn Ørmen the Teeth reveal the age

the Researchers also used advanced technology and the congregation to the annual rings in the teeth.

– It is absolutely fantastic. Now we know how old Selam was when she died. With the help of the growth rings in the teeth, one can count how many days she lived, ” says Torfinn Ørmen.

He is a zoologist by OsloMet and expert on menneskeartenes development, and is very pleased for the new discoveries.

Selam was exactly 861 days, according to the teeth her. And she had an ape-like brain.

– Ojoj, this is exciting. Now we know finally more about the brain of afarensis, and what’s amazing here is that they also had traits that are similar to our brain, ” says Ørmen.

Compared with living apes, it is modern man’s brain larger. Our brain is also organized in a different way than the monkeys.

Our brain uses more time to grow up and be mature.

Longer the childhood,

the Brain to the Selam should have been much bigger by toårsalderen, if it had followed the development of a apehjerne.

Here, there has been a delay. The brain of afarensis grew enough faster than ours, but slower than in monkeys. It means that they were more dependent on adults over a long period of time, ” says Ørmen.

Hjernevolumet to the Dikika child suggests that it may have had a longer childhood than apes.

– It is a fantastic discovery.

Dikika child had to have been more dependent of their parents over a longer period of time, compared with monkeys.

HJERNEUTVIKLING: the Tissue in the brain, leaving imprints in the skull. Here is the brain of Dikikia-the child compared with a brain of a chimpanzee.

Photo: Philipp Gunz, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 puzzle pieces

Each of the findings that is discovered is a piece in the big puzzle about how we have been we.

the Study, published in Science Advances, suggests that our common ancestor had a longer childhood and a longer learning curve than what was previously thought.

After seven years of work, we had finally all puzzles that we needed to study the development of hjernevekst, ” says the lead author of the study, Philipp Gunz, in a press release.

– This is completely new, and it is very interesting that you are now seeing the beginning of the human life cycle. And that this begin much earlier than is believed, ” says Ørmen.

EXCITING: Torfinn Ørmen think the study is very interesting, and give a new perspective on our hjerneutvikling.

Photo: Ulla Schildt