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Ardipithicus Fossil

October 12, 2009

Scientists unveil details about Ardipithicus, a possible human ancestor.


Revising hominid evolution…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

An international team of scientists recently unveiled details about the oldest known hominid skeleton found to date, called Ardipithicus. It inhabited ancient Ethiopia around 4.4 million years ago, predating the famous Lucy fossil by over a million years. Tim White, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, says that while Ardipithicus probably did climb trees like a chimpanzee, it also walked upright on land.

TIM WHITE (University of California, Berkeley):
In fact, you wouldn’t have recognized it as a chimpanzee had you seen it.

He adds that the large anatomical dissimilarities between the two species means that hominids may actually have diverged from their common ancestor with chimps several million years earlier than previously thought. White says that our possible ancestor probably also lived in a woodland habitat, as opposed to the savannah. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.