Day By Day

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ardi Mania

Really big news on the anthropology front this week. Science magazine, in a special issue, has published a series of articles on Ardipithecus ramidus, a 4.4 million year old fossil ape that is quite close in age to the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and australopithecines. As such it has quite a lot to tell us about the evolution of humans and our closest relatives. Not only the age of the specimens, but their completeness and rich context make this one of the most important discoveries ever published in the field of human evolutionary studies.

Here's Time's writeup on "Ardi". Not really very informative but it gives you a sense of its importance.

For a much better idea of what it all means check out John Hawks' commentary here.