Patrick Vignaud

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The search for the earliest fossil evidence of the human lineage has been concentrated in East Africa. Here we report the discovery of six hominid specimens from Chad, central Africa, 2,500 km from the East African Rift Valley. The fossils include a nearly complete cranium and fragmentary lower jaws. The associated fauna suggest the fossils are between 6(More)
Discoveries in Chad by the Mission Paleoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne have substantially changed our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In particular, the TM 266 locality in the Toros-Menalla fossiliferous area yielded a nearly complete cranium (TM 266-01-60-1), a mandible, and several isolated teeth assigned to Sahelanthropus tchadensis(More)
All six known specimens of the early hominid Sahelanthropus tchadensis come from Toros-Menalla site 266 (TM 266), a single locality in the Djurab Desert, northern Chad, central Africa. Here we present a preliminary analysis of the palaeontological and palaeoecological context of these finds. The rich fauna from TM 266 includes a significant aquatic(More)
Paleontologists are quite recent newcomers among the users of X-ray synchrotron imaging techniques at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). Studies of the external morphological characteristics of a fossil organism are not sufficient to extract all the information for a paleontological study. Nowadays observations of internal structures become(More)
Ages were determined at two hominid localities from the Chad Basin in the Djurab Desert (Northern Chad). In the Koro Toro fossiliferous area, KT 12 locality (16 degrees 00'N, 18 degrees 53'E) was the site of discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and in the Toros-Menalla fossiliferous area, TM 266 locality (16 degrees 15'N, 17 degrees 29'E) was(More)
Previous research in Chad at the Toros-Menalla 266 fossiliferous locality (about 7 million years old) uncovered a nearly complete cranium (TM 266-01-60-1), three mandibular fragments and several isolated teeth attributed to Sahelanthropus tchadensis. Of this material, the cranium is especially important for testing hypotheses about the systematics and(More)
The recent reconstruction of the Sahelanthropus tchadensis cranium (TM 266-01-60-1) provides an opportunity to examine in detail differences in cranial shape between this earliest-known hominid, African apes, and other hominid taxa. Here we compare the reconstruction of TM 266-01-60-1 with crania of African apes, humans, and several Pliocene hominids. The(More)
Higher termites of the subfamily Macrotermitinae (fungus-growing termites) are known to build fungus gardens where a symbiotic fungus (Termitomyces sp.) is cultivated. The fungus grows on a substrate called fungus comb, a structure built with the termites’ own faeces. Here we present the first fossil fungus combs ever found in the world. They were extracted(More)
The holotype of the species Australopithecus bahrelghazali is a mandibular fragment preserving left C-P(4) and right I(2)-P(4). One of the key features of the A. bahrelghazali mandible is its sagittally and transversally flat anterior region associated with a vertical, bulbous symphysis that is assumed to differ morphologically from the classic, more(More)
The Kibish Formation has yielded a small collection of bird fossils, which are identified here as belonging to five species in four different families: Pelecanidae (pelicans), Anhingidae (darters), Ardeidae (herons) and Phasianidae (gamefowl). Two species of pelicans are identified: Pelecanus cf. P. onocrotalus, and P. aff. P. rufescens. The darter is(More)