Photo: Oldest Skeleton of Human Ancestor Found



Editor's note: At the request of illustrator J.H. Matternes and Science/AAAS, we are removing the illustration of Ardipithecus ramidus that was once featured here. Illustrations of "Ardi" may be viewed in a scientific paper.

The oldest known fossil skeleton of a human ancestor—a female Ardipithecus ramidus specimen nicknamed "Ardi" (pictured, a digital reconstruction of its skull)—has been found, scientists announced on October 1, 2009.

The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.

Picture courtesy Science/AAAS


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