Scientists have revealed the results of 15 years of painstaking analysis of Ardipithecus ramidus, a fossil hominid found in Ethiopia’s Afar Rift. The four foot tall pre-human female is thought to have weighed 120 pounds, but may have crash-dieted before summer vacation. Male scientists, who have nicknamed her “Ardi,” seem fascinated by her pelvis and gluteal muscles. Ardi’s robust thumb musculature and flexible midcarpal (wrist) joint are perfect for text-messaging.
Ardi lived 4.4 million years ago, and bears many human-like traits, explained investigators in a Washington, DC press conference today:
“What we found in Ethiopia at 4.4 million years ago is the closest we’ve ever come to that ancestor along our own line.”
“Ardipithecus is so rife with anatomical surprises that no one could have imagined it without direct fossil evidence.”
“It’s not a chimp. It’s not a human. It shows us what we used to be.”
— Tim White, University of California at Berkeley.
“This may be the most important specimen in the history of evolutionary biology.”
“The road to becoming human began with setting the social conditions that would allow for the expansion of the big brain.”
— C. Owen Lovejoy, Kent State University
Image by Mike Licht (with apologies to J.H. Matternes ). Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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