October 1, 2009 | 7:35 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Unless this is the first time you’ve check a news source today, you’ve already heard about Ardi, the ancient ancestor of Lucy. Huh? Let the Old Grey Lady explain:
Ardi, short for Ardipithecus ramidus, is the newest fossil skeleton out of Africa to take its place in the gallery of human origins. At an age of 4.4 million years, it lived well before and was much more primitive than the famous 3.2-million-year-old Lucy, of the species Australopithecus afarensis.
Since finding fragments of the older hominid in 1992, an international team of scientists has been searching for more specimens and on Thursday presented a fairly complete skeleton and their first full analysis. By replacing Lucy as the earliest known skeleton from the human branch of the primate family tree, the scientists said, Ardi opened a window to “the early evolutionary steps that our ancestors took after we diverged from our common ancestor with chimpanzees.”
The older hominid was already so different from chimps that it suggested “no modern ape is a realistic proxy for characterizing early hominid evolution,” they wrote.
The Ardipithecus specimen, an adult female, probably stood four feet tall and weighed about 120 pounds, almost a foot taller and twice the weight of Lucy. Its brain was no larger than a modern chimp’s. It retained an agility for tree-climbing but already walked upright on two legs, a transforming innovation in hominids, though not as efficiently as Lucy’s kin.
Here’s more from Time and from Wired. I’ve been looking for religious perspectives on this news, but haven’t seen much. Even the secular Discovery Institute, the primary think tank for Intelligent Design, has been silent.
In previous evolution coverage:
We welcome your feedback.
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.
12.10.13 at 11:33 am | Some 35 years after the LDS dropped the ban, the. . .
12.5.13 at 7:11 am | In some of the most astounding news I've heard. . .
12.3.13 at 7:11 am | The Supreme Court granted certiorari in ...
11.25.13 at 8:55 am | Judge Crabb ruled that the clergy housing. . .
11.23.13 at 7:46 pm | A time-lapse starting with Hinduism in 5,000 BC. . .
11.16.13 at 10:41 am | His kebab cafe on hard times, Zablon Simintov. . .
12.5.13 at 7:11 am | In some of the most astounding news I've heard. . . (142)
12.10.13 at 11:33 am | Some 35 years after the LDS dropped the ban, the. . . (140)
12.3.13 at 7:11 am | The Supreme Court granted certiorari in ... (110)