Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ardi The "Missing Link" Is Revealed

Today more evidence was revealed that human evolution was a reality. We are one step closer to finding the missing link.

It is suggested that humans and chimpanzees seperated about 7 million years ago, but the LCA (last common ancestor) was always lacking; commonly known as the missing link. Today's reveal is now the oldest, and closest relative to the LCA.

Science is just fantastic, and this is a massive discovery. By the way, I compiled the picture to show you how much more of a hybrid "Ardi" is, relative to the previous oldest discovery.

Fossil remains of a short human-like creature that lived 4.4 million years ago could be the closest thing yet to the mythical “missing link”, it was revealed today.

The almost intact female “hominid” skeleton, unearthed from a desert in Ethiopia, is the oldest known and writes a new chapter in human evolution.

Ardipithecus ramidus , nicknamed “Ardi” by scientists, possessed an amalgam of human and ape or monkey traits. Experts believe she stood about four feet tall and walked on two legs on the ground some of the time, while also living in trees.

However scientists were surprised to discover that her anatomy was very different from that of present-day chimpanzees.

Ardi lacked the acrobatic ability of the modern-day apes and did not swing or hang from branches. Instead she would have climbed carefully on all fours, grasping with her long hands and feet.

Her face was more vertical and human-like than a chimp’s, having a jaw that jutted out less and was not armed with sharp, dagger-like canine teeth. She is believed to have been omnivorous, eating berries, fruits and roots as well as small mammals.

Ardi is also thought to have had a back that was long and curved like a human’s rather than short and stiff like a chimpanzee’s. Yet her lower pelvis was large and primitive, sharing similarities with African apes.

Humans and chimpanzees are believed to share an as-yet undiscovered common ancestor which lived between about five and seven million years ago.

Previously it had been assumed that very ancient hominids close to the point where the two struck out on different evolutionary paths would closely resemble chimps.

Ardi’s unusual bones suggest this was not the case. Scientists now believe modern chimpanzees have been extensively shaped by evolution, and should not be viewed as “proxies” for the last common ancestor of African apes and humans.

Despite having some strongly human characteristics, Ardi was still a lot less human than the famous “Lucy” - another primitive hominid from Africa that lived a million years later.

Lucy’s partial skeleton, found in Ethiopia in 1974, was the oldest comprehensive set of hominid remains known before Ardi’s discovery. Her species, Australopithecus afarensis , was an adept biped that seemed to be fully committed to life on the ground.

Professor Tim White, from the University of California at Berkeley, one of the leading authors who described Ardi today in a special issue of the journal Science , said: “In Ardipithecus we have an unspecialised form that hasn’t evolved very far in the direction of Australopithecus . So when you go from head to toe, you’re seeing a mosaic creature, that is neither chimpanzee, nor is it human. It is Ardipithecus .”

He added that Charles Darwin was “very wise” on the subject of human origins, warning of the dangers of making rash assumptions about our heritage.

“Darwin said we have to be really careful,” said Dr White. “The only way we’re really going to know what this last common ancestor looked like is to go and find it. Well, at 4.4 million years ago we found something pretty close to it. And, just like Darwin appreciated, evolution of the ape lineages and the human lineage has been going on independently since the time those lines split, since that last common ancestor we shared.”

Piecing together and analysing the skeleton took 17 years of painstaking work.

Older individual hominid fossils have been found, including a skull from Chad dating back more than six million years, and a number of other teeth and bone fragments. But Ardi is easily the most ancient complete set of skeletal bones to be unearthed so far.

A film on the find, Discovering Ardi , has been made for Discovery Channel.

7 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

"Ardipithecus ramidus , nicknamed “Ardi” by scientists, possessed an amalgam of human and ape or monkey traits"..

..also known as “Malemas Hermaphrodites”, the missing lowest common denominator link..

Anonymous said...

We still need to find 1 intermediary ancestor. Until that is done... Bunkum to Evolving. So far... Intermediate types found = 0. As Darwin said: "If my theory is correct the evidence will be found in the fossil record".

Please show me!!!

I REFUSE to accept that Julies Arse and myself have a common ancestor.

I suppose when you take a higher power out of the picture one must resort to fairy tales must one not?

Anonymous said...

@Anon. I suspect you are a Creationist. That's fine, but don't debunk the science simply because you are too scared to challenge your religious beliefs. I suspect no amount of evidence will satisfy you. Moreover, if you demand science to show you the evidence, by the same standard I demand religion to do the same.

"Ardi" is the first hybrid, showing both ape and human features. It is a massive piece of evidence. But here is a question; if intelligent design is valid, then we should have a common Adam and Eve, which date back to a similar time period. We don't. If we test mitochondrial DNA (the DNA passed from mother to daughter), you would expect to find that there is a common ancestor. There isn't. Obviously we all converge at some point, but certainly not in the time frame specified in the bible.

As for you and JM coming from a common ancestor; I suggest you read on the subject. We are called HSS, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, or Modern Man. The most popular theory is that modern man evolved in Africa, and then migrated. This is about to be debunked. The new theory, and there is mounting evidence to support it, is that HSS evolved in Europe and returned to Africa, inter-breeding with Archaic Man (HS) or Homo Erectus.

If this is the case, then you and JM are not related. JM will be the hybrid product.

Chris Brown said...

I think its cool that we are doing this wow its really fun..

Exzanian said...

It really does make a person weary to argue against flat earth cretins such as Anon 12:48. Denying evolution is in the same league as denying gravity...Anon, this entire article is about one of the missing links. Do you think the "truth" of the world is sitting out there waiting to answer to your bidding or your demand? Wake up, science owes you nothing, either you can think or you can't. You asked for some more evidence...Read about one of the best fossil records here (sorry if you find the language a bit hard to follow)

VI, I'm quite happy with common origins (and subsequent diversion) in Swartkrans circa 200,000 years ago...200,000 is a big enough gap for me. I will follow the evidence in any event...

Anonymous said...

The reason why Ardi has both human and ape characteristics is because higher beings than us came to Earth that looked like humans today, interbred with a primitive ape woman and thus, you have Ardi. This is not bull its actually in the Bible. Genesis 6. Talks about how gods from the heavens came down and born children with the women... We are getting closer to the REAL truth about our origins... Im excited

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:55. And you may well be right. As Carl Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Let's review the evidence please.