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Fossilized whale bone in African desert holds clues to human evolution
Fossilized whale bone in African desert holds clues to human evolution

A 22-foot beaked whale that apparently took a wrong turn up an African river about 17 million years ago may offer clues to the climate-change forces that shaped human evolution. Lost for more than 30 years, the fossilized beak with part of the jaw bone helps determine that the East African Plateau probably began rising no earlier than 17 million years ago, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That geologic upheaval in an area known as the cradle of humankind is believed to be responsible for the gradual conversion of dense, humid forests into more sparsely treed grasslands that made upright locomotion on two...

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