July 1, 2022

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“Walk Like a Man, Climb Like a Monkey” - A new species of human ancestor has been discovered

“Walk Like a Man, Climb Like a Monkey” – A new species of human ancestor has been discovered

About two million years ago, the species Homo sapiens became bipedal, but before that, many other things happened. Some stages of evolution are still shrouded in mystery, and the analysis of female remains australopithecus commonly known as AisaIt sheds new light on the darkness of history.

“Isa walked a little bit like a human, but he could climb like a monkey,” said Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

In order to reach an erect posture, the monkeys’ skeleton had to be significantly reoriented – from the feet to the knee joints to the spine. It must be remembered that the lower part of the human spine is curved inward, unlike monkeys and other apes. This pronounced curve (lordosis) helps us bear the weight of our massive upper body.

In 2008, a two-million-year-old fossil of an adult female was found in Malaba, South Africa Australopithecus sediba. The missing parts made it unclear whether her spine was straight or that of modern humans.

“The associated chain of lumbar vertebrae is extremely rare in the fossil record of hominins – in fact, only three similar lower segments of the vertebral column are known from throughout the early African record,” said Scott Williams, an evolutionary morphologist at New York University.

The bone structure of Issa’s fingers suggests that they are fine Adapted to life in trees (Like a modern orangutan), as well as a very flexible foot joint, suitable for vertical climbing. Dental analysis indicates that Issa’s diet was likely rich in fruits and leaves, as was the case in savanna chimpanzees, again suggesting an arboreal lifestyle. However, the angle at which the femur meets the knee joint indicates that it was Able to stand upright.

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In 2015, two pits of the lower vertebrae of the spine were found that fit perfectly into the remains of Issa. Computed micro-imaging studies have confirmed that the species does indeed have a curved back. This is the ultimate proof that this creature was bipedal (at least in part).

The researchers argue that Issa “could already climb using her upper limbs as well as many monkeys, but she has also shown that she can walk on two legs very well.”

Unfortunately, at the moment it is not known what this means in terms of the position of Australopithecus sediba in our area. family tree. It is not known whether this species is a dead end of evolution or our direct ancestor.