Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Meet Ardi - a common ancestor?

The tired and inaccurate phrase "missing link between humans and apes" has been discarded by scientists, mainly because evolution is much messier than that - it's more of a branching bush than a nice straight-climbing family tree. Still, Ardipithecus ramidus, a 1.2-meter, 50-kg primate estimated to have roamed Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago, appears to have been important to both modern groups. Mindful of the need to tell a story in presenting complex science, researchers have assembled the most complete skeleton, a female, and put her front and center of this important discovery. They call her "Ardi."

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