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Google Earth Leads to Discovery of Early Human Ancestor

Google Earth Leads to Discovery of Early Human Ancestor
Google is rarely afraid to toot its own horn, so when scientists at Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa announced that they had discovered an entirely new species of hominid, Australopithecus sediba, the company's Official Blog was practically elated.

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]

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Tags: archeology, google, google earth, GoogleEarth, top, web, witswatersrand university, WitswatersrandUniversity