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Ardi

Ardi

Score another point for science and evolution. Actually, make that a hundred points… that’s how important this is. Some of you might be familiar with “Lucy,” the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found that dates back to over 3 million years ago. Well, in 1994, scientists came across yet another skeleton and for the past 17 years they’ve been researching “Ardi,” or Ardipithecus. Ardi, like Lucy, is female and also lived in the area in and around today’s Ethiopia. Her skeleton is the oldest known hominid ever found – nearly 4.4 million years old.

What’s a hominid? Good question. According to the most reliable source in the world, Wikipedia (heh):

hominid is any member of the biological family Hominidae (the “great apes”), including the extinct and extant humanschimpanzeesgorillas, and orangutans. This classification has been revised several times in the last few decades. These various revisions have led to a varied use of the word “hominid”: the original meaning of Hominidae referred only to the modern meaning of Hominina, i.e. only humans and their closest relatives.

So, basically, Ardi is a very distant ancestor… of us! Or at least an extremely close relative. According to researchers, Ardi was about 4 feet tall and 110 pounds (more than some of us that are nearly a foot taller). Walked upright? Check. Opposable thumbs? Double check. Her toes were, too! She also had a variety of teeth meaning she was most likely omnivorous. Like us? Check.

Okay, so what’s the most important aspect of all of this work done? It is science working at it’s best. Nothing is ever 100% certain and this proves just how the scientific method works. Studies upon studies upon studies have been stating that our earliest ancestor was around 3-4 million or so years ago. Well now…

“In fact, what Ardipithecus tells us is that we as humans have been evolving to what we are today for at least 6 million years,” says C. Owen Lovejoy, an evolutionary biologist at Kent State University.

And tomorrow, Friday, we’ll all get to hear more about this exciting revelation. What? Don’t like that word? Hey, it’s tainted but it still works!

Edit: Much more information is out now out and about, but there’s one issue that concerns me. There are claims circulating that perhaps man was first and then the apes and chimps descended out of them. Yes, see for yourselves. Direct from their article:

Man didn’t descend from apes. What is closer to the truth is that our knuckle-dragging cousins descended from us.

and also this little gem:

(Ardi) is descended from the “missing link,” or the last common ancestor between humans and apes.

Now, I’m not saying that it isn’t possible that some scientists might be suggesting this… it’s just pretty ridiculous for me to believe. Maybe these so-called scientists are the same kind that like to wear tinfoil hats? Do they not know the basics of evolution/natural selection at all?! Nature alters these organisms and if they survive and reproduce, they will generally continue to do so until stopped. Just because Ardi is more “human-like” to some people doesn’t mean she is more closely related to us. And if I hear the “missing link” one more time I’m going to throw a fucking crocoduck in someone’s face. Where the hell are these people getting their degrees from?!

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Categories: Evolution, Science
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