Friday, October 02, 2009

Hello Great Grandma

Meet Ardi. She is the oldest human ancestor ever found. She lived in the forests of the area what is now Ethiopia, 4.4 million years ago. This makes her allegorically the mother of Lucy, who lived 3.2 million years ago, and the grand mother of the Turkana boy, who is 1.5 million years old. An us? We are all the descendants of a handful of her great grandchildren who left Africa 50 000 years ago!

The story of Ardi is a very interesting one. It started with a single molar teeth discovery in 1992. Careful excavation has gathered a complete skeleton:

Recently 440 anthropologists published their findings in 10 papers. It is said that there are even older fossils that has been found in the same area, which are being investigated at the moment. So be ready for even more exciting results!

The importance of Ardi is that it could both walk and climb. This is against the hypothesis that bipedal walking was an adaptation to the drier landscape of Africa, which had fewer trees. I am very excited about new hypothesis based on Ardi's bones.

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