Thursday, October 1, 2009

Before Lucy came Ardi, new earliest hominid found - Yahoo! News

 This undated digitally rendered composite image provided by the journal Science

AP – This undated digitally rendered composite image provided by the journal Science shows the foot of the …

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Randolph E. Schmid, Ap Science Writer Thu Oct 1, 6:33 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The story of humankind is reaching back another million years as scientists learn more about "Ardi," a hominid who lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. The 110-pound, 4-foot female roamed forests a million years before the famous Lucy, long studied as the earliest skeleton of a human ancestor.

This older skeleton reverses the common wisdom of human evolution, said anthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University.

Rather than humans evolving from an ancient chimp-like creature, the new find provides evidence that chimps and humans evolved from some long-ago common ancestor — but each evolved and changed separately along the way.

"This is not that common ancestor, but it's the closest we have ever been able to come," said Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

The lines that evolved into modern humans and living apes probably shared an ancestor 6 million to 7 million years ago, White said in a telephone interview.

Before Lucy came Ardi, new earliest hominid found - Yahoo! News

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