Move Over Lucy, Ari Is the New Star of Bones
Revolutionary new information about the ancestry of humans has the iconic Lucy (Australopithcus afarensis) moved from centre stage with a more ancient skeleton named Ari(Ardipithecus ramidus)as the new star in the search for human origins.
"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." (See pictures of Ardipithecus ramidus.)" National Geographic Daily News
While Lucy's skeleton was dated at approximately 3.2 million years old, Ari's skeleton has been dated to about 6 million years, pushing back the journey to modern humans considerably. This puts to rest the notion that a chimp like ancestor gave rise to modern humans.
"This find is far more important than Lucy," said Alan Walker, a paleontologist from Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the research. "It shows that the last common ancestor with chimps didn't look like a chimp, or a human, or some funny thing in between." (Related: "Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Found, Experts Say" [June 11, 2003].)National Geographic News
Ari's skeleton was found in the Afar Desert in Ethiopia not far from Lucy's remains. This new information about Ardipithecus ramidus will bring challenges and changes to the theories of human evolution.