Partial skeleton gives ancient hominids a new look

A trove of 4.4-million-year-old fossils throws unexpected light on some of humanity’s oldest evolutionary relatives

By Bruce Bower, 13:09 PM September 30, 2009

It’s been 4.4 million years since a female now nicknamed Ardi lived in eastern Africa, but she still knows how to make an entrance.

Analyses of her partial skeleton and the remains of at least 36 of her comrades, described in 11 papers in the Oct. 2 Science, provide the first comprehensive look at an ancient hominid species. Ardipithecus ramidus evolved a few million years after humanity’s evolutionary family diverged from a lineage that led to chimpanzees, but it is not clear exactly how ...

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