Ardipithecus

To get the straight skinny on our newly discovered relative from millions of years gone by, PZ Myers directs us to this article:

This introduction has been a long time coming. Some 4.4 million years ago, a hominid now known as Ardipithecus ramidus lived in what were then forests in Ethiopia. Fifteen years ago, Tim White of Berkeley and a team of Ethiopian and American scientists published the first account of Ardipithecus, which they had just discovered. But it was just a preliminary report, and White promised more details later, once he and his colleagues had carefully prepared and analyzed all the fossils they had unearthed. “Later,” it turned out, meant 15 years.

HA!  Stupid evolutionists took 15 years to carefully and meticulously figure out what this ancestor really was.  I bet a Creationist could have taken just 15 minutes to just declare it another human being or another chimp since the Bible is extremely clear they were both created distinctly and separately during the same first week of the entire universe.  You can tell the Creationists are right because it doesn’t take them 15 whole years to come up with their results.

15 years to piece this gal together:

Zimmer goes on:

White and his colleagues  found so many teeth of different Ardipithecus individuals that they could compare male and female canines with some confidence. The male teeth turn out to be surprisingly blunted. This result suggests that hominids shifted away from a typical ape social structure early in our ancestry. If this was a result of males forming long-term bonds with females and helping raise young, this shift was able to occur while hominids were still living a very ape-like life. Ardipithecus existed about 2 million years before the oldest evidence of stone tools, suggesting that technology was not the trigger for the evolution of nice hominid guys.

Ardipithecus could not climb through trees as well as, say, chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have lots of adaptations in their arms and shoulders to let them hang from branches and climb vertically up trees with incredible speed.Ardipithecus had hands were not stiffened enough to let them move like chimpanzees.Ardipithecus probably moved carefully through the trees, using its hands and feet all at once to grip branches.

Chimpanzees may be our closest living relatives, but that doesn’t mean that our common ancestor with them looked precisely like a chimp. In fact, a lot of what makes a chimpanzee a chimpanzee evolved after our two lineages split roughly 7 million years ago. Ardipithecus offers strong evidence for the newness of chimps.

Only after our ancestors branched off from chimpanzees, Lovejoy and his colleagues argue, did chimpanzee arms evolve the right shape for swinging through trees. Chimpanzee arms are also adapted for knuckle-walking, while Ardipithecus didn’t have the right anatomy to lean comfortably on their hands.

These are just some key highlights, for a fuller account, read the whole article.
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