Scientists have found evidence of a great evolutionary leap between ancient hominids

Thomas Cody Prang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and colleagues examined the skeletal remains of the hominid Ardi

(Ardipithecus ramidus, ardipithecus) 4.4 million years old, found in Ethiopia. One of Ardi's hands is exceptionally well preserved.

Researchers have compared the shape of Ardi's hand to hundredsother hand samples representing recent humans, great apes, and dry-nosed primates to compare the type of locomotor behavior used in the earliest hominins (fossil human relatives).

Research results published in the journal Science Advances, provide a clue to how the first people began to walk upright and make movements similar to those that are familiar to us today.

“The shape of the bones reflects adaptation to certainhabits or lifestyle - for example, the movement of primates. By establishing links between bone shape and the behavior of living forms, we can draw inferences about the behavior of extinct species such as the ardiptecs, ”explains study author Thomas Cody Prang.

In addition, scientists have found evidence of a largeevolutionary "leap" between Ardi's hand and the hands of all later hominins, including the species Lucy (Australopithecus). This "leap" came at a critical juncture when the hominins evolved to adapt to a more human form of upright walking. Examination of the skeleton has provided scientists with the earliest evidence of hominin stone tool making and use.

The fact that Ardi represents an earlier phase in human evolutionary history is important because it potentially sheds light on the species of ancestors from which humans and chimpanzees descended.

New research supports the classicthe idea, first proposed by Charles Darwin in 1871, when he had no fossils or an understanding of genetics, that the use of hands and upper limbs for manipulation appeared in early human relatives in connection with upright walking. Scientists suggest that the evolution of human hands and feet was probably interconnected in ancient humans.

Big changes in the anatomy of Ardi's hand and everyonelater hominins occurred between about 4.4 and 3.3 million years ago. This coincides with the earliest evidence for the loss of the grasping big toe in human evolution.

Among other things, the study as a whole confirms Darwin's theory of the origin of man from apes.

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Hominids are a family of primates that includes humans andgreat great apes. Together with gibbons, it forms the superfamily of hominoids. Previously, only humans and their extinct ancestors were attributed to hominids, and orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees were singled out as a separate pongid family.

Hominins are a subfamily of the hominid family, towhich includes Homo sapiens, chimpanzees, gorillas, as well as a number of extinct groups. The size of the subfamily varies significantly in different zoological classifications.

Lucy (eng.Lucy) - the skeleton of a female Australopithecus afarensis AL 288-1, found by a French-American expedition led by Donald Johanson, at that time curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, November 24, 1974 in the Avash River valley (Danakil depression) in Ethiopia. Lucy, who was estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago, is the first known member of her species.

Ardi - Fossilized female skeletal fragmentsArdipithecus ramidus, 4.4 million years old. It is considered one of the most complete skeletons of early hominids: most of the skull, teeth, pelvic bones, and limb bones have been preserved.