Oldest Hominid Skeleton Unveiled as Earliest Example of Human Evolution

October 1, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A research team reported today in the journal Science, unveiling the oldest-known member of the human family tree. The bones of Ardipithecus ramidus  — known as ‘Ardi’, a hominid or great ape, were discovered in Ethiopia in 1994 and date back 4.4 million years ago. But it took 17 years for the team of 47 investigators, from ten different countries, to analyze and interpret the data. The earliest known Ardipithecus  — A. ramidus kadabba  — lived around 5.8 million years ago in Ethiopia.  The 110-pound, 4-foot female roamed forests a million years before the famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton of Lucy, long studied as the earliest skeleton of a human ancestor.  Ardi, is not the long-sought “missing link” i.e. the ancestor that scientists say humans and apes have in common — but comes close.  The actual last common ancestor of chimps and humans probably lived between five and 10 million years ago.

“It’s not a chimp. It’s not a human. It shows us what we used to be,” said paleoanthropologist Tim White of the University of California-Berkeley, co-director of the research group that discovered and analyzed the fossils, described in a special issue of the Oct. 2 journal Science. “It bridges a gap.”

The scientists said the skeleton show that Ardi may have given rise to Lucy’s species, walked upright, used simple tools, and that her teeth resemble modern human teeth more closely than they do those of a chimpanzee. Ardi could climb trees, using lengthy fingers and big toes for grasping, but she could also walk on the ground on two feet.

Source/Photo: Science/AAAS


3 Responses to “Oldest Hominid Skeleton Unveiled as Earliest Example of Human Evolution”

  1. Chrystal K. on October 1st, 2009 6:58 pm

    I never thought I would be so interested in history, but this is truly interesting.

  2. Mike Licht on October 2nd, 2009 8:13 am

    Ardi’s robust thumb musculature and flexible midcarpal (wrist) joint are perfect for text-messaging.



  3. Chris Brown on October 2nd, 2009 12:15 pm

    Its Cool finding these type of stories just makes me wonder what was really going on In the world around those times. It amazes me…

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