This has already made big news in the mainstream press but deserved a few weeks here. A new hominid fossil, Ardi, has stolen the oldest human ancestor crown away from Lucy. Ardi lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. For those keeping track, that’s 4,394,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.
Don’t let the name fool you though. It stands for Ardipithecus. Ardi’s actually female. Was I the only one who was picturing this guy?
The 110-pound, 4-foot female roamed forests a million years before the famous Lucy, long studied as the earliest skeleton of a human ancestor.This older skeleton reverses the common wisdom of human evolution, said anthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University.
Rather than humans evolving from an ancient chimp-like creature, the new find provides evidence that chimps and humans evolved from some long-ago common ancestor — but each evolved and changed separately along the way.
“This is not that common ancestor, but it’s the closest we have ever been able to come,” said Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.