Navigation Links
Ancient ape ruled out of man's ancestral line

Ancient remains, once thought to be a key link in the evolution of mankind, have now been shown to be 400,000 years too young to be a part of man’s family tree.

The remains of the apeman, dubbed Little Foot, were discovered in a cave complex at Sterkfontein by a local South African team in 1997. Its bones preserved in sediment layers, it is the most complete hominid fossil skeleton ever found.

Little Foot is of the genus Australopithecus, thought by some to be part of the ancestral line which led directly to man. But research by Dr Jo Walker and Dr Bob Cliff of the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, with Dr Alf Latham of Liverpool University's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, shows the remains are more than a million years younger than earlier estimates.

The team used uranium lead chronology to date the remains. Working on extracts of stalagmite deposits from immediately above and below the body, they dated the skeleton at around 2.2 million years old.

Their findings, published in the American journal Science, are controversial. Earlier estimates had put the age of Little Foot at three to four million years old placing it potentially on a direct line to humans.

The first recognisable stone tools appeared in Africa around 2.6 million years ago, but they were not made by Australopiths. Rather it is thought the first tool maker was Homo habilis, whose evolution is believed to have led directly to man. Rather than being older than Homo habilis ?and a possible direct ancestor ?Little Foot is more likely a distant cousin.

His remains are cemented in hard mineral deposits in the Sterkfontein cave complex which has yielded a number of other ancient finds. It is thought he either fell down a shaft or somehow got trapped in the cave and died there to be covered by the sediment layers from which he is now being slowly extracted. These sediments are themselves sandwiched between stalagmit e layers which provided the materials for the dating process.

Australopithecus walked on two legs, but stood just 130cm tall and had a brain comparable in size with a modern chimpanzee. As Dr Walker explained: “In many of these finds, the smallest bones have disintegrated, but here the feet and hands are well preserved - and these could enable researchers to show how well adapted this early primate was to walking on two feet.?

But the sediment encasing Little Foot is harder than the bone ?making extracting him a painstaking process for the South African team.

And Drs Latham and Cliff have now turned their own attention to further Australopith findings at Makapansgat, also in South Africa, where other specimens of Australopithecus have been found.
'"/>

Source:University of Leeds


Related biology news :

1. Ancient olfaction protein is shared by many bugs, offering new pest control target
2. Ancient immune defense mechanism is no match for HIV-1
3. Ancient DNA helps clarify the origins of two extinct New World horse species
4. Researchers Discover Ancient Origins Of Tuberculosis-causing Bacteria
5. Ancient DNA confirms single origin of Malagasy primates
6. Ancient anthropoid origins discovered in Africa
7. Ancient trans-Atlantic swarm brought locusts to the New World
8. Ancient humans brought bottle gourds to the Americas from Asia
9. Ancient DNA helps UF researchers unearth potential hemophilia therapy
10. Ancient DNA provides clues to the evolution of social behavior
11. Ancient ants arose 140-168 million years ago

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Optimove , provider of ... such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced two ... Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these features ... replenishment recommendations to their customers based not just ... customer intent drawn from a complex web of ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... Matching enables to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. ... Systems) ... the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Husson University will be celebrating students ... of knowledge during its Eighth Annual Research and Scholarship Day on ... During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members from all of the ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: PFSCF) ("Prometic" or the ... ("ILC") 2017 of the European Association for the Study of ... the positive effects of PBI-4050 on reduction of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis ... ... Gagnon, Vice-President of R&D Pre-clinical of Prometic "This extensive preclinical ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Parallel6™ , the ... worldwide, announced today that they were named one of the 2017 Top 10 ... latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry. , “We take pride in honoring Parallel6 as ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... 2017 Dutch philosopher Koert van Mensvoort - founder ... University of Technology in Eindhoven - has written a ,Letter to Humanity, ... on humanity to avoid becoming a slave and victim to its own technology, ... ... Dutch philosopher Koert van Mensvoort – founder of the Next Nature Network and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: