Little Foot, the 3.6-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor Unveiled to Public

The skull of Australopithecus prometheus, known as
The skull of Australopithecus prometheus, known as “Little Foot,” is on display now.

Two days ago, Little Foot, Stw 573, the near-complete Australopithecine skeleton dating back 3.67 million years was  unveiled at the Hominin Vault at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Little Foot was found a bit nontraditional in ’94 by Ron Clarke, who was sifting thru some animal bones from South Africa’s Sterkfontein Caves.

He found four fragmented hominin foot and leg bones and sent others to more extensively uncover the remains. Clarke realized he found something highly significant which lead into a 20 year excavation. This yielded a skeleton that has more than 90 percent of its bones intact, save parts of its feet, pelvis, and kneecaps… Making it the most complete and oldest skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5 million years ever found, more complete than Lucy. Not surprisingly, Clarke, along with other international experts, will soon release more than 25 scientific papers on the research. The results are expected to be published next year.

4 thoughts on “Little Foot, the 3.6-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor Unveiled to Public

  1. Splendid, thanks, professor Clarke, we’re eagerly awaiting your descriptions. I guess (see my papers in Human Evolution), Little Foot will show mostly a mosaic of bonobo, human & unique traits, adapted to an orthograde aquarboreal locomotion, e.g. vertical lumbar spine, not for running bipedally but for climbing vertically & wading upright in swamp forests (not unlike bonobos sometimes do – google “bonobo wading” – but more frequently); not or slightly lengthened arms, hands & fingers, more human- than bonobo-like; probably more or less curved hand-bones for clmibing vertically; no knuckle-walking features; no elongated iliac bones (as in humans, versus apes); presumably a very wide pelvis with flaring iliac bones, long femoral necks & very valgus knees for frequent femoral abduction; leg length about as in bonobos; ape-sized brain or possibly slightly larger; low prognathism; not or slightly enlarged canines, broad cheekteeth with thick enamel (wetland diet); flat nasal skeleton; relatively non-flexed basicranium with foramen magnum position about as in bonobos, etc.

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