Scientists Describe Unknown Human AncestorArchaeology | October 1, 2009, Thursday // 17:48| views
Fossils of A. ramidus were first found in Ethiopia in 1992, but it has taken 17 years to assess their significance. Photo by Science
An ancient ape-like creature that may be a direct ancestor to our species has been described by researchers.
The assessment of the 4,4-million-year-old animal called Ardipithecus ramidus is reported in the journal Science.
Even if it is not on the direct line to us, it offers new insights into the how we evolved from the common ancestor we share with chimps, the team says, as cited by the BBC.
Fossils of A. ramidus were first found in Ethiopia in 1992, but it has taken 17 years to assess their significance.
The most important specimen is a partial skeleton of a female nicknamed "Ardi".
The international team has recovered key bones, including the skull with teeth, arms, hands, pelvis, legs, and feet.
One of the lead researchers on the project, Professor Tim White from the University of California at Berkeley, said the investigation had been painstaking.
"This is not an ordinary fossil. It's not a chimp. It's not a human. It shows us what we used to be", he said.
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