I want to be the first to break news to you that Science has published White’s contentious 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus! I caught news of the release on the internet. The link is not live yet, but when it is I’ll fill you in.
Owen Lovejoy is one of the authors of the paper, and he says that the fossil changes the notion that humans and chimps, our closest genetic cousins, both trace their lineage to a creature that was more like today’s chimp and we’ll have to be rewriting our text books soon. This is big folks. What this means is that our common ancestor was a bipedal forest forager and that chimps were an evolutionary offshoot.
White, the lead author, describes the fossil with flexible hands and a brain about a quarter the size of a human’s,
“We can’t say this species was a direct ancestor of modern humans, so we have to be careful. But it suggests that the direction of early hominids was away from the chimp.”
There are a lot of other implications that I won’t get into just yet, but keep checking us out from time to time as we get more!
Here are some of the press releases/news coverage that have come out since I’ve published this post:
- Kent State University Professor C. Owen Lovejoy helps unveil oldest hominid skeleton
- Fossil finds extend human story
- Before ‘Lucy,’ there was ‘Ardi': First major analysis of early hominid published in Science
- Oldest hominid skeleton provides new evidence for human evolution
- Humanity Has a New 4.4 Million-Year-Old Baby Mama
- Ancient Skeleton May Rewrite Earliest Chapter of Human Evolution
- Fossil Skeleton From Africa Predates Lucy
- Ethiopian desert yields oldest hominid skeleton
- Ardi displaces Lucy as oldest hominid skeleton
- Fossil Primate Ardipithecus Ramidus Described (Finally)
- Oldest “Human” Skeleton Found–Disproves “Missing Link”
- ‘Ardi,’ Oldest Human Ancestor, Unveiled