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:1/13/2017)... 13, 2017 Sandata Technologies, LLC, a ... homecare industry, including Electronic Visit Verification™ (EVV™), announced ... Jugs, as Senior Vice President of Product Management. ... of homecare experience to Sandata, where he will ... to align Sandata,s suite of solutions with the ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... , Jan. 12, 2017  New research undertaken by ... office of the future.  1,000 participants were simply asked which ... months which we may consider standard issue.  Insights on what ... 2017 were also gathered from futurists and industry leaders including ... James Canton .  Some of ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Intoxalock, a leading ignition interlock provider, has ... patent-pending calibration device. With this new technology, Intoxalock is ... data logs and process repairs at service center locations, ... drunk driving through the application of cutting-edge technologies is ... also for the customer who can get back on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: NWBO) ("NW Bio"), ... for operable and inoperable solid tumor cancers, announced today ... of NW Bio, will present at the Phacilitate Immunotherapy ... Hyatt Regency Hotel in Miami, Florida ... entitled "New Therapeutic Approaches – Expanding the Reach of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 18, 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... it will host a live webcast of its Annual Meeting of ... The webcast can be accessed from the BD corporate ... Tuesday, January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is a global medical technology ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... According to a new market research report "In situ Hybridization Market by Technique ... Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) - Global Forecast to 2021" published by ... USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%. ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Applied BioMath ( www.appliedbiomath.com ), the ... and development, today announced that Dr. John ... Applied BioMath, will present at the next Boston ... on Thursday January 19, 2017 at the Broad ... Dr. Burke,s talk "Quantitative Modeling and Simulation Approaches: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: