One Step Closer To Evolutionary 'Missing Link'

October 2, 2009


Scientists believe they're one step closer to human evolution's "missing link" with the discovery of new skeletal remains in Ethiopia.

Humanity has a new older sister. A fossilized skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus or "Ardi" predates Lucy by over a million years. The discovery has led to new insights about human evolution, suggesting previously unknown relationships to our chimpanzee brethren.

The paleobiologists studying Ardi identify hers as an "intermediate" form, one that is bipedal, but at the same time capable of walking on all forms and traveling through trees. Still, although she represents a point past hominids' evolutionary break with gorillas and chimpanzees, she is very different from modern apes. For example, Ardi's had flat hands and feet and flexible wrists, and engaged in a form of locomotion called palmigrady, which is a trait of ancient apes and unlike gorillas and chimpanzees, which are stiff-wristed knuckle-walkers. This suggests that gorilla and chimp ancestors developed their knuckle-walking long after their evolutionary break with hominids.

Interesting. And by interesting I mean Ardi looks like your mom but with nicer tits. AND trim.

New Fossil Discovery is the Closest We've Come to the Missing Link [io9]

Thanks to Julian, who would hit anything with opposable thumbs.

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