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Ardipithecus ramidus

October 1, 2009


I love the description of how Ardipithecus might have moved around. The article calls it bizarre, but the image in my mind was that of a hominid able to move gracefully on the ground and in the tree. I imagine Ardipithecus moving not like a human, not like a chimp, but somewhere in between. National Geographic refers to her (Ardi’s) traits as a mosaic. She walked on her palms along tree branches and was able to grasp behind her, allowing her to “move about in the trees carefully and safely”. She also lacked the fierce canines of chimpanzees, perhaps indicating that she was less aggressive. Of course the article paints the picture of our most recently discovered ancestor as gentle, careful, and unique. It is squishy science at best, but it sure does set my mind on fire.

It took 15 years for scientists to coax the practically pulverized 4.4 million year old bones from the earth.

There is so much more to know. We look at the bits and pieces that we have and try to paint a picture. Each fossil fits somewhere, but it is hard when so many puzzle bits are missing. I love that.

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