Seventeen hominoid fossils recovered from Pliocene strata at Aramis, Middle Awash, Ethiopia make up a series comprising dental, cranial and postcranial specimens dated to around 4.4 million years ago. When compared with Australopithecus afarensis and with modern and fossil apes the Aramis fossil hominids are recognized as a new species of Australopithecus—A. ramidus sp. nov. The antiquity and primitive morphology of A. ramidus suggests that it represents a long-sought potential root species for the Hominidae.