Oct 1, 2009

'Ardi' Fossil Revealed - Oldest Known Hominid

An international team of researchers has revealed the remains of the oldest known hominid in existence, nicknamed Ardi due to its name (Ardipithecus ramidus).

The details can be found in the Science journal:

Researchers have unveiled the oldest known skeleton of a putative human ancestor--and it is full of surprises. Although the creature, named Ardipithecus ramidus, had a brain and body the size of a chimpanzee, it did not knuckle-walk or swing through the trees like an ape. Instead, "Ardi" walked upright, with a big, stiff foot and short, wide pelvis, researchers report in Science. "We thought Lucy was the find of the century," says paleoanthropologist Andrew Hill of Yale University, referring to the famous 3.2-million-year-old skeleton that revolutionized thinking about human origins. "But in retrospect, it was not."

Scientists urge, though, that we not jump to conclusions. Some, among them David Pilbeam, think the chimpanzee and Ardipithecus ramidus did not evolve in a mutually exclusive manner: "I find it hard to believe that the numerous similarities of chimps and gorillas evolved convergently." We have no evidence that Ardipithecus gave way to Australopithecus, and more tests will have to be done to discover what exactly occurred. But still, this is a HUGE find!

[Ancient Skeleton May Rewrite Earliest Chapter of Human Evolution]
['Ardi,' Oldest Human Ancestor, Unveiled]

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