Nicholas

Oldest "human" Skeleton Found--Disproves "missing Link"

31 posts in this topic

Move over, Lucy. And kiss the missing link goodbye.

Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor. 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.

Find the article HERE!

Although this dramatically changes paleoanthropology, I'm still not yet fully convinced. I feel that they are rushing the find like many others. In any case it is a significant paleoanthropological find, and I'm waiting to read more about it.

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They do typically jump the gun, but I love reading anything having to do with hominid origins.

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They do typically jump the gun, but I love reading anything having to do with hominid origins.

I've called them on it many times. NatGeo is notorious for it actually the problem is they want to get the news as quick as possible.

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...I feel that they are rushing the find like many others...

Rushing? This thing was found in 1974, and has been under study ever since! The hew and cry in the community has been "PUBLISH ALREADY!" It is possibly the most over-analyzed fossil of our time.

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Rushing? This thing was found in 1974, and has been under study ever since! The hew and cry in the community has been "PUBLISH ALREADY!" It is possibly the most over-analyzed fossil of our time.

oh, i don't know about that last sentence. tj's stuff is all slept with and drooled on.

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Rushing? This thing was found in 1974, and has been under study ever since! The hew and cry in the community has been "PUBLISH ALREADY!" It is possibly the most over-analyzed fossil of our time.

By a specific handpicked teams and not fully peer reviewed by many specialists. Well this is the beef I'm hearing from my professors of Human Evolutionary Studies. Their issue is that it hasn't been offered to the full blunt critique of peer review and the find has been the subject of shielding.

Although I have a small bias because I tend to keep the currently accepted model of human evolution which has no place for this find, I'm quickly learning to embrace the potential of this find.

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when you figure out how i really got here, let me know. it's not that i'm curious - i just have other people demanding that i tell them.

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when you figure out how i really got here, let me know. it's not that i'm curious - i just have other people demanding that i tell them.

haha-classic

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Rushing? This thing was found in 1974, and has been under study ever since! The hew and cry in the community has been "PUBLISH ALREADY!" It is possibly the most over-analyzed fossil of our time.

Lucy was found in 1974. This fossil was found in 1992. Still a long time ago, but I'm sure it took a few years to prep her, and several more to compare and analyze.

Pretty interesting nonetheless. I'm not sure we will ever have the answer to this question, at least not in our lifetime.

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The centerpiece of a treasure trove of new fossils, the skeleton—assigned to a species called Ardipithecus ramidus—belonged to a small-brained, 110-pound (50-kilogram) female nicknamed "Ardi."

That's quite a coincidence. I went to school with a small-brained, 110 pound female named "Tina." :P

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Lucy was found in 1974. This fossil was found in 1992....

Oops! Thanks Dave; I hate when that happens :blush:

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:)

I just saw an ad on TV. There is a program coming on Sunday Oct 11 at 9pm on the discovery channel. I think it's called "Discovering Ardi"

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:)

I just saw an ad on TV. There is a program coming on Sunday Oct 11 at 9pm on the discovery channel. I think it's called "Discovering Ardi"

Sounds good to me. Thanks for the warning I'll try to catch it.

This is definitely a find which deserves more lime light than the Ida find, in my opinion. I hope it gets AT LEAST equal treatment.

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I don't really understand how this find changes anything. Scientists knew all along that there were other "missing links."

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I don't really understand how this find changes anything. Scientists knew all along that there were other "missing links."

It doesn't really, I did some research from my University and found out this find was published a few times already across the 2000's. It isn't new, its significant because the specimen is much more complete than others found. This find is being over hyped to draw attention to the field. Science writers do this a lot.

I was mistaken before when I noted that this find does not reinforce my opinions on human evolution. In fact I realized today that I had completely missed this and other similar hominoids when I did my initial research. I fumbled majorly on this particular portion of the literature and stage in evolution now that I'm more read on the subject I'm not going to say that this even changes human evolution in fact the time line etc has been already altered previously some years ago to accommodate the find. I learned a lesson on this one, don't skip ANYTHING...

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Anyone else watching the program? It's pretty interesting.

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I just watch the program and it was very interesting

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The program was interesting. Something that caught my attention was how they said bipedal movement is unique to hominids because it's such an inefficient way to travel. If that's the case, why were numerous dinos bipeds, not to mention some birds, like ostriches? Just an "out-loud" thought.

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...why were numerous dinos bipeds, not to mention some birds, like ostriches?...

Small clarification: all birds are bipedal; it is one defining characteristic of class Aves.

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The program was interesting. Something that caught my attention was how they said bipedal movement is unique to hominids because it's such an inefficient way to travel. If that's the case, why were numerous dinos bipeds, not to mention some birds, like ostriches? Just an "out-loud" thought.

I think what they meant (and weren't to clear on it) was both our movement is bipedal and upright which is unique to Hominids (though Merecats stand with better posture than most of us ;) )

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I think what they meant (and weren't to clear on it) was both our movement is bipedal and upright which is unique to Hominids (though Merecats stand with better posture than most of us ;) )

That's kind of what I was thinking.

Auspex, that's what I meant :D

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That, and it is pretty unique among mammals. Kangaroos don't really count because they hop rather than walk or run. Our version of bipedality is also vastly different from birds and dinosaurs - we're plantigrade, and because of this our femur moves much more than in dinosauria/aves (whose femora are held fairly static within aves).

Correct me if I'm forgetting any other mammalian bipeds - and facultative bipeds don't count. (I accidentally said obligate - oops; now correctly)

Bobby

P.S. Thought I'd add, in response to Mark Gelbart's comment - forget the whole notion of a missing link. It's a stupid concept. What it refers to is a gap in the fossil record, and when a new fossil is found that may be from that gap, it is initially referred to as a missing link. I'm fine with the original version. However, the concept has been distorted by creationists that the missing link is some magical fossil we will never find, and the missing link will always go undiscovered; it is never mentioned *where* on the hominid tree the missing link [i]IS[/i], only that it is somewhere, which isn't very helpful for anyone who isn't out of their mind, but is a wonderful catch-22 for the insane folks to implement. Unfortunately, this distorted idea of a missing link has permeated the public mind.

A lot of evolutionary biologists and paleontologists will argue "evolution is like a bush, not a straight line!" and continually deride valid concepts like anagenesis as remnants of the old concept orthogenesis (i.e. the old idea of horse evolution). This is primarily because people who use cladistics tend to over emphasize cladogenesis/lineage splitting, and for whatever reason can't wrap their heads around a lineage not splitting, and just... evolving.

Edited by Boesse

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Well said.

Edited by 32fordboy

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The program was interesting. Something that caught my attention was how they said bipedal movement is unique to hominids because it's such an inefficient way to travel. If that's the case, why were numerous dinos bipeds, not to mention some birds, like ostriches? Just an "out-loud" thought.

Bipedal dinosaurs had a tail as a counterbalance and they ran on their toes which allowed many of them to run faster than humans. Our fastest runners might hit 15-20mph at a sprint but the average guy is huffing and puffing at 8mph for any distance. Our legs really aren't well-built for running especially across a lifetime (people who run too much develop bad knees or other joint problems). We run with our toes and heels flat on the ground while many other mammals walk on their toes (or their toe tips as in ungulates - though sprinters run on their toes). We're great walkers, though.

Ostriches are a modern oddity of sorts because they one of the few groups of large running birds that could compete in a world ruled by mammals. They found their niche though their geographic range is not as broad as it used to be. In fact, it appears ostriches evolved in Europe and spread to Asia and Africa by the Miocene. Smaller running birds, like turkeys, have survived, I assume, because they take best advantage of tall ground cover and lay many eggs.

I was checking on the forum last night and came upon mention of the show and realized it was about to start - caught the beginning with only a few minutes to spare.

The thing I questioned was the way the hypothesis that Ardipithecus developed bipedality as related to sexual selection was explained - the male being the food gatherer and basically trading for gender with a female as the two developed a bond. He found himself doing more walking than climbing trees. The paleontologists said that this ran in the face of the traditional idea that early hominids left the trees for the plains as climates became cooler and drier.

Well, the reason the Ardipithecus male had to do more walking was because his ancestors did live in jungles but with climatic cooling, the edges of many of those jungles were giving way to more open woodland and then to less wooded areas becoming separated by stretches of grassland. This was happening all over the world during Ardi's time. The male had to do more walking and get better at it because the trees were getting fewer and farther between. So, finding a hominid a million years older than Lucy that still had a climbing toe but that could also walk upright shouldn't be some earth-shaking find - certainly significant as it provides solid measurable evidence rather than the chimp/human hybrid ghost we could only imagine previously. As noted earlier in the thread, it still fits the big picture of how human evolution has been perceived.

Something else to consider is that females may have chosen less aggressive males (those with smaller canines and therefore those less likely to fight with other males) because they tended to help more with childcare and were probably gentler mates. The guy with the big canines took too many risks and didn't live that long - not good father material. Ardipithecus could have been less aggressive than chimps but equally intelligent, living in large groups as has been theorized for Australopithecus. Still, modern humans have small canines but our potential for aggression is at least equal to any ape. Humans and modern apes (chimps and gorillas at least) might have even become more aggressive through time though that is probably impossible to test.

It was an interesting show. There was another show right after it which was a discussion hosted by Paula Zahn. It was a little too much of a rehash but it added some depth to the first one.

Edited by siteseer

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there are some interesting thoughts expressed here. i do think there are a lot of variables that have probably not been mentioned regarding the relative "successfulness" of the ways that any given species move.

at any rate, to me, one important factor in walking upright is that it frees up the other limbs for other tasks, and allows specialization of function for them. in that regard, it seems like bipedalism might be somewhat less effective for movement, but was more than compensated for by more effective hunting, tool use, etc. that allowed hominids to thrive in spite of any loss of speed or maneuverability. and of course, in the case of birds, it allowed the wings to become purely specialized for flight, and flight is so demanding that the animals had to be highly adapted.

ok, so there's my theor, i mean, concept. which i couldn't have shared with you if i couldn't keyboard with my front paws.

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