TM 266-01-060-1

One of the first human traits, the small canine teeth in this male skull distinguished it from other apes. Most male primates have long canine teeth that they use to threaten and harm other males. There may have been less competition among Sahelanthropus tchadensis males, or perhaps males expressed aggression in other ways. This skull, nearly complete though flattened by distortion, is also known by its nickname, ‘Toumai,’ which means ‘hope of life’ in the local Dazaga language of Chad.

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TM 266-01-060-1
Exhibit item
Nickname: 
Toumai
Site: 
Toros-Menalla, Chad
Date of discovery: 
2001
Discovered by: 
A team led by Michel Brunet
Age: 
Between 7 and 6 million years old
Text: 
<bold>One of the earliest members of the human family</bold> This male’s small canine teeth—one of the first human traits—distinguished it from other apes. Most male primates have long canine teeth that they use to threaten and harm other males. There may have been less competition among <italic>Sahelanthropus</italic> males, or perhaps males expressed aggression in other ways.