The first upright man

Monday 28 February 2005

Like us?: an   Ardipithecus ra (Credit: Indiana University)An important find at Gona in Ethiopia's Afar region, about 500 kilometres from Addis Ababa, is likely to fill a major gap in the story of human evolution. Fossils of Ardipithecus ramidus, one of the earliest humans who lived about 4.5 million years ago, are expected to provide insights into human ancestors who lived on the earth just after the split from the line that gave rise to chimpanzees some eight-six million years ago. A ramidus, who looked more like a chimpanzee, is believed to be the earliest hominid genus after the split.

"It is a very important finding because it does confirm hominids walked upright on two feet definitely 4.5 million years ago," paleoanthropologist Sileshi Semaw of the craft Stone Age Institute, Indiana University, the us, said. Remains from at least nine primitive hominids, including teeth, jaw and part of a toe and finger bones were found, the science journal Nature reports . Only a handful of such fossils have been found since A ramidus was first named by anthropologists nearly 10 years ago. Scientists believe the discovery will help understand anatomical and behavioural changes that define human beings.

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