Ardipithecus ramidus and its relationship to humans and chimpanzees Introduction The paramount importance of the discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus has been that it corrected a prevailing false notion- seeing Chimpanzees as a link in the ancestral lineages of hominids (Lovejoy et al., 2009)…
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(Lovejoy, 2009). Ardipithecus Ramidus had its pelvic region and feet well developed to maintain an upright posture and walk, but with its big toes, and strong hips and thighs, it could easily climb trees and move around like an ape (Lovejoy, 2009). The major aspect to note about this supposed ancestor of humans is that it cannot be considered at all as the “transitional (link) between African apes and humans” (Gibbons, 2009, p.37). Ardipithecus Ramidus could easily move around on trees but it did not have many abilities that chimpanzees have, like, “suspension, vertical climbing, or knuckle-walking” (White et al., 2009, p.64). Hence, White et al. (2009) has supported the theory of hominin-ness of Ardipithecus Ramidus and concluded that “both hominids and extant African apes are each highly specialized, but through very different evolutionary pathways” (p.64). But there have been many contenders to this theory like Harrison (2010) who believed that the “earliest undoubted hominin” (p.532) is Australopithecus anamensis that trod this earth 4.2 million years back. In view of these contradictory conclusions made by scientists regarding the relationships between Ardipithecus Ramidus, modern humans and chimpanzees, this study proposes to compare the sexual behaviors of Ardipithecus Ramidus, Australopithecus, modern humans and chimpanzees, in order to decide upon the hominin-ness of Ardipithecus Ramidus and it is hypothesized that such a comparison would lead to the conclusion that are earliest known hominids so far. Methodology This study proposes to use qualitative research method by which the data collected from secondary sources on the sexual behaviors of Ardipithecus Ramidus, Australopithecus, modern humans and chimpanzees, will be compiled and compared. For this, two features related to sexual expression, namely, aggressiveness and sexual dimorphism will be studied in each of the above mentioned four categories- Ardipithecus Ramidus, Australopithecus, modern humans and chimpanzees. Data Collection and Analysis Information on the sexual behavior of Ardipithecus Ramidus, Australopithecus, modern humans and chimpanzees in connection with aggressiveness and sexual dimorphism will be collected from sources like books, and journal articles published within a period of 20 years. At least 30 secondary sources will be identified and used for this purpose. Data analysis will be carried out using coding of data compiled under each of the four categories. Results The results would indicate that in matters of aggressiveness and sexual dimorphism, Ardipithecus Ramidus is closer to humans than chimpanzees. Discussion The link between the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees on one side and Ardipithecus Ramidus on the other, remains to be proven yet. In many areas, there is a huge leap between the features of an Ardipithecus Ramidus and an Australopithecus. It is by finding these missing links, the theory of hominin-ness of Ardipithecus Ramidus could be further substantiated beyond doubt. Conclusion Given the reduced aggressiveness and reduced sexual dimorphism found in Ardipithecus Ramidus, it can be argued that humans have a less competitive and more democratic primitive past. Further
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