Ancient hominid used unusual hips to combine walking and climbing | Science News

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Ardi walked the walk 4.4 million years ago

The pelvis of Ardipithecus shows the hominid could both walk upright and climb trees

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4:17pm, April 2, 2018
Ardi

UPRIGHT CLIMBER  An artist’s reconstruction shows 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus in action as both a climber and a two-legged walker. This early hominid combined humanlike, nearly straight-legged walking with powerful, apelike climbing abilities, a new study finds.

A famous 4.4-million-year-old member of the human evolutionary family was hip enough to evolve an upright gait without losing any tree-climbing prowess.

The pelvis from a partial Ardipithecus ramidus skeleton nicknamed Ardi (SN: 1/16/10, p. 22) bears evidence of an efficient, humanlike walk combined with plenty of hip power for apelike climbing, says a team led by biological anthropologists Elaine Kozma and Herman Pontzer of City University of New York. Although researchers have often assumed that the evolution of walking in hominids required at least a partial sacrifice of climbing abilities, Ardi avoided that trade-off, the scientists report the week of April 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Ardi evolved a solution to an upright stance, with powerful hips for climbing that

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