Friday, October 02, 2009


One of the most momentous scientific findings perhaps of our time, not only in paleoanthropology, and you have to dig into the back-pages to find the news? Sure, the bone fragments were uncovered in 1992 in Ethiopia, but the meaning and significance of scientific discoveries is hardly ever understood at the moment of the physical discovery or observation.

Science introduces us to "Ardi" through the publication of a special issue of analytical papers (free access), thus giving us a much more comprehensive picture of the discovery's importance. Ardipithecus ramidus is the last common ancestor between humans and apes and, at 4.4 million-years-old - 1.2 million years older than Lucy - much closer to the "missing link," the point where hominids' evolutionary lineage split chimpanzees'. Ardi has already brought down a number of paleoanthropological assumptions about the origins of various human characteristics. She's quite the radical.

Read more here (and the Science articles again here).

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