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Out on a limb

Fossils suggest early bipedal hominids still climbed

8:28pm, December 13, 2012

2012 SCIENCE NEWS TOP 25: 16

More than 3 million years ago, a chimp-sized creature climbed a tree to take a nap. Later, she clambered back down, stood up on two legs and strolled off to find some food, or maybe a mate. Or maybe another tree to scale.

That’s a controversial view of how the famous human ancestor Lucy and her kind, Australopithecus afarensis, maneuvered about the landscape. Scientists have debated whether the early hominid climbed trees. New fossil evidence announced this year suggests the species did spend some time in the treetops even though it mainly walked upright on the ground. This fossil find and others from 2012 challenge the idea that human evolution involved ever more humanlike species replacing more primitive

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