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BTN LiveBIG: Purdue researchers shed light on 3.7-million-year-old mystery

From the Garden of Eden to strange black monoliths, human beings have long sought explanations of their origins. Purdue researchers recently made a breakthrough on a major piece of the human ancestry puzzle. Using a combination of radioisotopic dating and a gas-filled magnet detector, the team was able to accurately date a well-preserved skeleton of Australopithecus prometheus, an early forebear of modern-day Homo sapiens. A crew that included Purdue professors Mark Caffee and Darryl Granger and former postdoctoral researcher Ryan Gibbon determined the Australopithecus fossil, dubbed “Little Foot,” is about 3.67 million years old. That’s older than the estimated age