This fossil was later dated at more than three million years old – much older than other hominin fossils known at the time.
In the afternoon, all members of the expedition returned to the gully to section off the site and prepare it for careful excavation and collection, which eventually took three weeks.
They noticed part of a femur (thigh bone) a few feet (about one meter) away.
As they explored further, they found more and more bones on the slope, including vertebrae, part of a pelvis, ribs, and pieces of jaw.
French geologist and paleoanthropologist Maurice Taieb discovered the Hadar Formation for paleoanthropology in 1974 in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia; he recognized its potential as a likely repository of the fossils and artifacts of human origins.
Taieb formed the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE) and invited three prominent international scientists to conduct research expeditions into the region.