AUSTIN, Texas — Lucy, the most famous fossil of a human ancestor, probably died after falling from a tree, according to a study appearing in Nature led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. (more…)
Tag Archives: australopithecus afarensis
Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history.
In a new study, a research team led by Yale University found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools. (more…)
*Discovery of partial foot skeleton could mean hominin species lived side by side*
A new fossil discovery from Eastern Africa called the Burtele foot indicates Australopithecus afarensis, an early relative of modern humans, may not have been the only hominin to walk the plains and woodlands of what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia some 3.4 million years ago.
Researchers openly have questioned whether Au. afarensis, the species to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belongs, was the only living hominin during the late Pliocene of Africa. Lucy’s bones provided evidence that she and perhaps other early hominins may have walked upright, but whether or not she was the sole hominin species in her particular geologic time scale has been the subject of much debate. (more…)
*3.2 million-year-old human predecessor had arches in feet*
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Feet arches give humans a spring in their steps, shock absorbing abilities, and stiff platforms to propel themselves forward, allowing them to walk upright consistently. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and Arizona State University have found proof that arches existed in a predecessor to the human species that lived more than 3 million years ago. This discovery could change scientists’ views of human evolution. The study is being published this week in Science.
Carol Ward, an MU researcher in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at the MU School of Medicine, and William Kimbel and Donald Johanson, director and founding director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, studied a 3.2 million-year-old fourth metatarsal of Australopithecus afarensis. A team from the Institute of Human Origins and National Museum of Ethiopia led by Kimbel discovered the fossil in Hadar, Ethiopia. The species is often referred to as “Lucy,” the nickname of the most complete fossil skeleton of the species to be discovered. (more…)