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Kent State University Professor C. Owen Lovejoy helps unveil oldest hominid skeleton

KENT, Ohio Oct. 1, 2009 Throw out all those posters and books that depict an ape evolving into a human being, says Kent State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy. An internationally recognized biological anthropologist who specializes in the study of human origins, Lovejoy is one of the primary authors who revealed their research findings today on Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia.

"People often think we evolved from apes, but no, apes in many ways evolved from us," Lovejoy said. "It has been a popular idea to think humans are modified chimpanzees. From studying Ardipithecus ramidus, or 'Ardi,' we learn that we cannot understand or model human evolution from chimps and gorillas."

A special issue of Science ( available Oct. 2 will feature 11 papers that are the first formal description of "Ardi," a partial female skeleton. Lovejoy was first author on five papers and contributed to an additional three. For the past seven years, he has been a part of a major international research effort studying "Ardi," serving as post-cranial anatomist and behavioral theorist.

One of Lovejoy's most recognized achievements is the reconstruction of the skeleton of "Lucy," a fossil of a human ancestor that walked upright more than three million years ago. "'Ardi' is one million years older than 'Lucy,' more informative than 'Lucy,' and 'Ardi' changes what we know about human evolution."

When comparing "Ardi" to "Lucy," Lovejoy said that working on "Ardi" was much more exciting and interesting. "She provides real answers," he said.


Contact: Emily Vincent
Kent State University

Page: 1

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