A eureka moment and a dream come true

Photomontage by Jennifer Taylor, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Photography by Matt Crow and Dale Omori. Facial reconstruction by John Gurche made possible through generous contribution by Susan and George Klein.

“It was a eureka moment and a dream come true!”

That’s what Yohannes Haile-Selassie said when his research team discovered a rare and remarkably complete skull in Ethiopia. The fossil is thought to predate Lucy, the oldest known hominin species, by at least 100,000 years.

Haile-Sleassie is one of the world’s leading experts in paleoanthropology, and he teaches at Case Western Reserve University. He also is the curator and head of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which is one of many world-class cultural institutions located just minutes from campus.