Google Earth Leads to Discovery of Early Human Ancestor
What is Google's role in this discovery? It turns out that Professor Lee Berger, the lead scientist on the excavations that unearthed the newly discovered species, made extensive use of Google Earth to identify caves an potential fossil beds. Berger then used what he learned by looking at 130 known caves and 20 known fossil deposits to identify over 500 previously undiscovered caves and fossil beds using Google Earth's satellite imagery. His find may be the direct ancestor of the entire Homo genus, so it appears his method seems to work.
Maybe Google didn't do anything that actively led to this groundbreaking discovery, but the tale does highlight the power of the information available to both researchers and average PC users, thanks to Google. [From: Official Google Blog]