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Because of its small size, he called it the "Taung baby." In fact, its teeth indicate that it was a 3-4 year old child.
Despite its relatively small brain, he concluded that this species was intermediate between apes and humans.
The primate fossil record for this crucial transitional period leading to australopithecines is still scanty and somewhat confusing.
However, by about 4.2 million years ago, unquestionable australopithecines were present.
It indicated that the , or hole in the skull through which the spinal cord passes, pointed downward and was nearly at the central balance point of the skull.
Orrorin lived about 6 million years ago, while Ardipithecus remains have been dated to 5.8-4.4 million years ago.
At present, the vote is still out as to whether any of these three primates were in fact true hominins and if they were our ancestors.
Few researchers were willing to estimate the time period of the earliest hominins at much more than 100,000 years, and there was no inkling of anything older from Africa.
In addition, there was a bias among the predominantly European paleoanthropologists against accepting early Africans as the ancestors of all humanity. It took him 73 days to chisel the skull free from its surrounding stone matrix and 4 years of spare time to free the jaw and the fossilized brain.