By now many of you will have heard about the publication in Science of a series of long awaited papers on the 4.4 million year old Ardipithecus ramidus, a fossil hominin that is already telling us more than we ever knew before about the earliest stages of human evolution. I will be back later with links and more information, but meanwhile here are early breaking stories from the New York Times and the BBC.
And yes, take it from me, these finds merit all the hype they are receiving, if not more.
Update I: Some background from my colleague Ann Gibbons, including a video well worth watching featuring Ann and team leader Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley.
Update II: A good image-laden backgrounder by Jamie Shreeve of National Geographic.
Update III: John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, whose anthropology blog is always of interest, has a lengthy post on Ardi.
Update IV: All of the papers and other materials about Ardipithecus ramidus are now available free from Science at this link.