Saturday, March 31, 2012

A New Species of Hominin Coeval With Lucy?

Great Googlymoogly! A new discovery has been made in the Afar triangle that indicates that a similar species of Australopithecus that was not A. afarensis lived alongside them. Science Daily writes:
The Burtele partial foot clearly shows that at 3.4 million years ago, Lucy’s species, which walked upright on two legs, was not the only hominin species living in this region of Ethiopia,” said lead author and project leader Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “Her species co-existed with close relatives who were more adept at climbing trees, like ‘Ardi’s’ species, Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived 4.4 million years ago.”
There is nothing to dictate that there were no intermediates between Ar. ramidus and Au. afarensis or that there were not several hominins on the landscape at this point. We know that there were two species of Ardipithecus. It is possible that this represents a descendent of Ar. ramidus or a descendent of a species that lived at the same time as Ardi and gave rise to a hominin that was more arboreal in nature. Until we have more to go on, it will be hard to construct any relationships that are even provisional.

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