The Missing Link – Found?

a monkey like human can be the missing link
Buy and Download this image in HD.
* We have all articles images for sale, in HD resolution 1920x1080px
and without watermark in our eStore or upon request.

The remains of an ancient female were unearthed in 1994 in Ethiopia’s Afar depression, shedding new light on our understanding of human evolution.

Ardipithecus ramidus is a species name derived from “ramid” meaning “root,” displaying traits that were both primitive and hominid-like. Carbon dating put the “Ardi” find at 4.4 million years old, nearly a million years older than “Lucy,” believed until then to be the original “Eve” of humanity.

Like a hit song in the music charts, Lucy’s reign in the Anthropological Society’s limelight was quickly replaced by this more recent and much older discovery.

Ardi showed hardly any similarities to chimpanzee-like traits—giving credence to a theory long supported by Darwin and his followers that hominids and African apes have followed different evolutionary pathways, so we can no longer think of chimps as “proxies” for our last common ancestor.

Barely four feet in height, Ardi was bipedal on the ground but dexterous with all limbs in the trees. Her upper pelvic structure was developed for bipedal walking without the side-to-side swinging that are trademarks of chimpanzees and some apes.

On the other hand, Ardi’s lower pelvis bones shared a common structure with that of an ape’s, which made for more efficient climbing. She also had a toe that was separated from the rest, a trait shared with apes.

Yet, unlike apes, Ardi had acquired a tendon that made her feet more rigid and suitable for walking. Again, this trait is virtually non-existent in the lines of modern-day apes.

Ardi’s teeth showed a puzzling array of traits, too, that were a mix of early hominins and later hominids. For one, the male of her species displayed canine teeth that were smaller than those of apes.

Canine teeth, big ones, were great psychological and defensive weapons against rivals in claiming a potential mate. This shows the possibility of less male-to-male aggression over females in her species.

Ardi’s bipedal nature, in turn, proved to have been useful in attracting mates. Like some humans and Bonobo chimps, sexual loyalty or maybe even just pure sex might have been offered when food was provided. It enabled an Ardi male to gain favors and reproduction by providing food to his mate.

So is Ardi the infamous “missing link?” Probably not. The last common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees is thought to have lived six or more million years ago—long before Ardi’s time.

However, what makes Ardipithecus important is that she likely shared many of our common ancestor’s characteristics. The antiquity of Ardi has brought us closer to the still-elusive “last” common ancestor and shown that the missing link must be neither chimpanzee nor human but unique, like Ardi.

Since you’re here …

… we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading CAVEMENWORLD than ever, but few are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike some othe organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our articles open to all. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. CAVEMENWORLD’s independent, investigative journalism and graphics take a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Related Tags:
| | |
Rocknette Cavemen

ROCKNETTE is the tribe’s artist-inresidence. She uses her creative talents to reflect the daily struggle of her people, telling intricate stories through her cave paintings

© 2014 CAVEMENWORLD S.L.| All rights reserved Design by Najuzaith ZahellGoogle+

Pin It on Pinterest


Pin It on Pinterest