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New ancestor grasped at walking

Foot fossils unveil a species that lived near Lucy’s kind

By
2:28pm, March 28, 2012

An ancient member of the human evolutionary family has put what’s left of a weird, gorillalike foot forward to show that upright walking evolved along different paths in East Africa.

A 3.4 million-year-old partial fossil foot unearthed in Ethiopia comes from a previously unknown hominid species that deftly climbed trees but walked clumsily, say anthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his colleagues. Their report appears in the March 29 Nature.

To the scientists’ surprise, this creature lived at the same time and in the same region as Australopith

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