The 4.4-Million-Year-Old Ardipithecus ramidus

Ardipithecus ramidus
Ardipithecus ramidus

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:

10 thoughts on “The 4.4-Million-Year-Old Ardipithecus ramidus

  1. “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 ”

    The ancestor would still be more chimp-like than human-like in most features. And this specimen doesn’t clear up all of the uncertainties about that ancestor, since it’s on the human side of things. We’d need a well-preserved member of the human-chimpanzee stem group to be certain about the polarity of all of these features.

    “What this means is that our common ancestor was a bipedal forest forager”

    *Facultatively* bipedal. This has already been suspected for a while, so it’s nice to see it confirmed.

    “and that chimps were an evolutionary offshoot”

    Again, we already knew this (or should have). This wonderful specimen clears up some particulars, though.

      1. Still lower lvl than Lucy though … must be a beta Tauren with plain striding.

        Apologies to those who have no idea what I’m talking about. Brownie points to those who do.

  2. I’m a 16 year old Junior and to be learning this at such a young age is quite simply amazing. I’m not sure that most would believe I’m only 16 but I am and this is the most amazing discovery of my generation. I one day hope to become an archaeoligist so I too can make amazing discoveries as this one. I might not find such an old or well preserved specimen as this but it’d be cool to be recognized as someone important so that when I do find cool stuff I’d be invited to do digs this important to human history. I want to leave my own footprints so that our future selves can find them yet again millions of years from now.

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