As scientists still work on tracing back our origins, a group of scientists working in Uganda have returned to Paris with a new addition to the primates' family picture.

A team of scientists have said the Ugandapithecus skull, which was discovered in the Karamoja, a volcanic region on the Napak XV hillside in Uganda is the most complete of its kind to have ever been unearthed after more than 25 years of hard work and digging by scientists and palaeontologists.

"It's the first time we've got a real good sample of Ugandapithecus Major. Before that, it was known by jaw fragments, isolated teeth, a few postcranial bones. But here, we really have a good idea for the first time of what the whole skull might have looked like," said Dr Martin Pickford, one of the palaeontologists who discovered the skull.

The fossil was unearthed between various volcanic levels, which enabled scientists to put an age to the skull, which according to Martin Pickford, is about 20 million years.

The team now hope the Ugandapithecus skull will now help fill a gap in the lineage of primates, but have warned it may well have become extinct without leading to the birth of man.

The remnants of the Ugandapithecus have led researchers to create a new species, due to a variety of dental and postcranial differences which distinguish it from its nearby relative, the proconsul species.

By studying the Karamoja surroundings and focusing on molluscs and other fauna buried beneath the surface scientists believe the primate would have lived in a tropical, humid climate.

The discovery is also important in that it marks the first year of archaeological excavation in Uganda without the need for military escorts.