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FOSSIL SKULLS STONE TOOLS OVERVIEW HUMAN EVOLUTION 13 BIG QUESTIONS
Ardipithecus ramidus
Ardipithecus ramidus
Bradshaw Foundation Origins Archive
 
Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed in 1994 'Ardi' (meaning 'ground' or 'root'), lived about 4.4 million years ago during the early Pliocene. The fossil find was dated on the basis of its stratigraphic position between two volcanic strata. [White, Tim D. et al. 2009]. This fossil was originally described as a species of Australopithecus, but White and his colleagues placed the fossil under a new genus, Ardipithecus.
ARDIPITHECUS RAMIDUS
ARDIPITHECUS RAMIDUS
Ardipithecus ramidus Ethiopia Africa
Genus: Ardipithecus
Species: Ardipithecus ramidus
Other Names: Ardi ('Ground' or 'Root')
Time Period: 4.4 million years ago
Characteristics: Fruit Eater
Fossil Evidence: Skeletal Bones, Ethiopia, Africa

ARDIPITHECUS RAMIDUS

 
Ardi Ardipithecus ramidus
Ardi
representation of
Ardipithecus ramidus
J.H. Matternes
Tim White's research team discovered the first Ardipithecus ramidus fossils in 1992 in the Afar Depression in the Middle Awash river valley of Ethiopia. More fragments were recovered in 1994, amounting to 45% of the total skeleton. Between 1999 and 2003 a multidisciplinary team led by Sileshi Semaw discovered bones and teeth of nine Ardipithecus ramidus individuals at As Duma in the Gona Western Margin of Ethiopia's Afar region.
 
Like most primitive, but unlike all previously recognized hominins, Ardipithecus ramidus had a grasping big toe adapted for locomotion in trees. However, scientists claim that other features of its skeleton reflect adaptation to bipedalism. Like later hominins, Ardipithecus had reduce canine teeth. Its brain was small and comparable in size to that of the modern chimpanzee.
 
Ardipithecus ramidus had a relatively small brain, measuring between 300 and 350 cm3 similar to that of a chimpanzee, smaller than Australopithecus afarensis 'Lucy' and only 20% the size of the modern Homo sapiens brain.
 
The teeth suggest it was a fruit eater rather than depending on fibrous plants. In terms of social behaviour, this may have meant relatively little aggression between males and between groups. Ardipithecus ramidus feet are better suited for walking, and may have inhabited an environment of woodland and grasslands with lakes and swamps.