Researchers who found Sahelanthropus fossils intentionally left femur unexamined to name it Humanity’s Oldest Ancestor

French paleontologists uncovered a Sahelanthropus in Chad about two decades ago. They nicknamed it ‘Toumai’ which means hope of life. Paleontologists then indicated this to be an early two legged human as its skull indicated it had an erect spine.

Using radiometric dating researchers determined Toumai lived between 6.8 and 7.2 million years old during the Miocene era.

That makes Toumai more than twice as old as humanity’s oldest known ancestor, ‘Lucy,’ discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and dating to about 3.2 million years ago.

Now a new report has claimed that the Toumai was just an ancient primate, closely related to a chimpanzee rather than a human.

Researchers are basing their claim on the shape of a femur that they say belongs to Toumai. They maintain the thigh bone, which resembles an ape’s, was intentionally left unexamined because it would have discredited the theory he walked on two feet.

A left femur and two forearm bones were also discovered, but for some reason the researchers then never published anything on them and few other researchers had access to the bones.

The newest hypothesis of the Toumai was published in the December 2020 edition of the Journal of Human Evolution.