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Human evolution in the headlines

scienceardicoverThis week's big paleo story centers on Ardipithecus ramidus, a species of hominid that lived in the woodlands of Ethiopia, 4.4 million years ago. UCMP Faculty Curator and Human Evolution Research Center (HERC) director Tim White is co-director of the Middle Awash Project, the team of researchers that excavated and studied the fossils. The team includes UCMP Faculty Curator and HERC Associate Faculty member Leslea Hlusko.  Find out more about the discovery:

  • Science magazine has 11 papers about A. ramidus in the October 2 issue, as well as a number of online extras.
  • Discovering Ardi is the online companion to the Discovery Channel's upcoming program, and has wonderful photos, reconstructions and videos of the fossils and the people who work with them, including videos featuring Tim White.
  • Carl Zimmer summarizes the most interesting findings on his blog.

 

Tim and his colleagues found a lot of fossil material — over 125 pieces from the skeleton of a single individual (nicknamed Ardi), as well as specimens from nearly three dozen other individuals. The teeth provide clues about the species' social structure, and the pelvis, hand, and foot bones indicate how it may have walked and climbed.

If you're on the Berkeley campus, be sure to check out HERC's exhibit on human evolution, on the second floor of the Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley. There is a new section of the exhibit about Ardipithecus ramidus.