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Ardipithecus Ramidus and Its Relationship to Humans and Chimpanzees - Term Paper Example

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There have been two major gaps in the fossil record in tracing human evolution. The hominoid gap is the first and is said to date back to approximately 22-32 million years ago. …
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Ardipithecus Ramidus and Its Relationship to Humans and Chimpanzees
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Ardipithecus Ramidus and Its Relationship to Humans and Chimpanzees

Download file to see previous pages... The hominoid gap is the first and is said to date back to approximately 22-32 million years ago. This is the period that the human and ape ancestors were diverging from the monkeys’ evolution path. The other gap is the hominid gap and is estimated to date back to about 4.5 to 14 million years ago. It is believed that during this period, the human ancestors and extant ape ancestors separated from a common evolution path. Hominids refer to the human ancestors after the divergence from the last common ancestor with extant apes. Recently, fossil evidence bridging the hominid gap was discovered in 1992 in Aramis, Northern Ethiopia by a group of researchers. The discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus changes the initial belief that the common ancestor between man and extant apes looked more like a chimpanzee. The characteristics of the Ardipithecus ramidus are more similar to those of humans and therefore, the extant apes must have developed their traits after their evolution path and that of humans separated. This discussion explores the Ardipithecus ramidus’ relationship to Chimpanzees and humans. Ardipithecus Ramidus Ardipithecus ramidus is believed to be 4.4 million years old and its discovery has changed the belief that human beings evolved from chimpanzees. Ardipithecus ramidus walked upright like humans and had a big toe for holding trees like apes. Before the discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus, the oldest early human skeleton was that of Australopithecus afarensis, also known as Lucy. Lucy is believed to be 3.2 million years old. Australopithecus afarensis was also discovered in Ethiopia and had many common characteristics with human beings. Therefore, the earlier ancestry between humans and apes was missing. The first specimen of Ardipithecus ramidus was discovered in 1992. The fossils were found in sediment layers which are approximately 4.4 million years old. The skull, arms feet, pelvis, and teeth were later discovered. The features of Ardipithecus ramidus such as lack of ape-like canines show that she was not an ancestor of modern chimpanzees (White et al., 2009). Studies of evolution have been trying to determine the reason for the distinctiveness of human beings in terms of being bipedal, having high intellectual and technological capabilities, and other traits that distinguish them from extant apes. Before the discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus fossils, the evolution of humans was based on the characteristics of African apes. It was believed that these unique abilities that humans possess evolved from the modification of the traits of chimpanzees and bonobos, which are the closest human relatives. Human behavior was viewed as a modification of the chimpanzees’ characteristics such as the dominance of males, hunting, culture, upright feeding posture, among others (Harrison, 2010). The discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus sheds light into the period of hominid development after splitting from the common ancestor with apes. Before Ardipithecus ramidus was discovered, scientists believed that the last common ancestor looked more like a chimpanzee than humans. They believed that the modern apes got many of their traits from this ancestor, such as walking on knuckles and hanging and swinging on trees. Characteristics of apes such as short backs, limbs, and pelvis which are appropriate for walking on knuckles and arms for swinging and hanging on trees were believed to have originated from the last common ancestor. It was believed that after the split, the human ancestors dropped the characteristics of the common ancestor such as sharp canines and walking on knuckles while the ancestors of the chimpanzees retained them up to the present. However, these beliefs are refuted by Ardipithecus ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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