Ancient creature mixed human, apelike traits

Discovery baffles scientists.
Associated Press
Apr 12, 2013

Scientists have gained new insights into an extinct South African creature with an intriguing mix of human and apelike traits, and apparently an unusual way of walking. But they still haven't pinned down where it fits on our evolutionary family tree.

It will take more fossil discoveries to sort that out.

The human branch of the evolutionary tree, called Homo, is thought to have arisen from a group of ancient species called australopithecines. The newly studied species is a member of this group, and so its similarities to humans are enticing for tackling the riddle of how Homo appeared.

It's called Australopithecus sediba (aw-STRAL-oh-PITH-uh-kus se-DEE-bah), which means "southern ape, wellspring." It lived some 2 million years ago, and it both climbed in trees and walked upright. Its remains were discovered in 2008 when the 9-year-old son of a paleoanthropologist accidently came across a bone in South Africa.

A 2011 analysis of some of A. sediba's bones showed a combination of human and more apelike traits, like a snapshot of evolution in action. That theme continues in six papers published online Thursday by the journal Science, which complete the initial examination of two partial skeletons and an isolated shinbone.

Jeremy DeSilva of Boston University, lead author of one of the papers, said the fossils reveal an unexpected "mosaic of anatomies."

"I didn't think you could have this combination, that hand with that pelvis with that foot... And yet, there it is," he said.

DeSilva said he has no idea how A. sediba is related to humans, noting that the different traits argue for different conclusions.

Among the new analyses, the ribs show the creature's upper trunk resembled an ape's, while the lower part looked more like a human's. Arm bones other than the hand and wrist look primitive, reflecting climbing ability, while earlier analysis of the hand had shown mixed traits.

The teeth also show a mix of human and primitive features, and provide new evidence that A. sediba is closely related to early humans, said Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg of Ohio State University, a co-author of a dental analysis. It and an older South African species, A. africanus, appear more closely related to early humans than other australopithecines like the famous "Lucy" are, she said.

But she said the analysis can't determine which of the two species is the closer relative, nor whether A. sediba is a direct ancestor of humans.

Another study found a mix of human and apelike traits in leg bones, and concluded that A. sediba walked like no other known animal.

Its heel was narrow like an ape's, which would seem to prevent walking upright, but the more humanlike knee, pelvis and hip show A. sediba did just that, DeSilva said.

When people walk, they strike the ground with the heel first. But that would be disastrous from A. sediba's narrow heel bone, so instead the creature struck the ground first with the outside of the foot, DeSilva and co-authors propose. The foot would react by rolling inward, which is called pronation. In people, chronic pronation can cause pain in the foot, knees, hip and back, said DeSilva, who tried out the ancient creature's gait.

"I've been walking around campus this way, and it hurts," he said.

But the bones of A. sediba show features that evidently prevented those pain problems, he said. The creature apparently adopted this gait as a kind of compromise for a body that had to climb trees proficiently as well as walk upright, he said.

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Malcolm Ritter can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/malcolmri...

 

Comments

starryeyes83

I have to wonder, if, sometimes these "discoveries" are genuine or are they manufactured?

This "artifact" looks fake.

The Bizness

The white parts you see are reconstructed. If it is fake then it will be discovered during peer review.

starryeyes83

I don't mean just the white parts, Obviously, I knew that was what... resin? Plaster? The whole thing just looks fake...

They always claimed the Shroud of Turin was real , too... I don't believe it.

reporter54

yeah, but it does look amazingly like one of my neighbors.

WiseManOnceSaid

I love when the religious nuts ask for the "missing link". There are many "missing links" that have been discovered. In the Homo and Australopithecus branches

The Bizness

+1

They don't understand how evolution works...well wait they don't think that evolution is even real.

shucks

WiseManOnceSaid + The Bizness = 0

observer

Oh, gee.............someone dug up another "2 million year old" skull that looks amazingly like an ape! LOL Are you people serious?

Evolution? Takes more faith to believe in that ridiculous nonsense than any religion you can name. There's a sucker born every minute!

The Bizness

lol

WiseManOnceSaid

Poor Observer... As they say, "Ignorance is Bliss".

shucks

you must be in ecstasy, WiseManOnceSaid

reporter54

And we all know that we're just an alien experiment anyway and not descended from anything. Right?

themomx6

Albert Einstein said..."The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a print shop."

Licorice Schtick

Eistein the creationist? What a cute idea.

Actually, it's a misattribution. He never said that.

There are books full of every sort of lie - misattributions, misquotes, out-of-context quotes, and pretzel logic - used by the weak-of-faith to shore up their wobbly beliefs by attempting to refute sound science.

Fromthe419

There can be God and evolution. If the big bang is when time started, what caused the big bang? If all that there is came from nothing something had to create it. Science and faith can coexist.

Lissa4u

I agree with you; science and faith can coexist.

The Bizness

Agree

WiseManOnceSaid

They could coexist. But they don't. Because one is absolutely not true...

Bluto

Technically the jury is still out on this subject , since we don't have all the answers . When the scientific laws as we now understand them break down on the subatomic levels , God may truly be in the details . I personally don't believe in any magical entity in a classical sense , but have not completely ruled out some purposeful efforts that may guide life , be it natural or by design . Hell , if the multi-verse theory turns out to be correct then a God-like being may really be possible .

Fromthe419

I agree Bluto, since neither can be proven with absolute certainty, both can be true, one can be true or neither can be true. To say one is true with absolute certainty with out presenting the facts (which is impossible at this time) who knows?

shucks

One fact is that you can't make something out of nothing.
Do you need proof?

WiseManOnceSaid

That's not true. In quantum mechanics a particle can pop into existence having came from nothing. Mathematically speaking, the entire universe could have popped into existence from nothing. Whether multiverse or Membrane theory is true, there is no chance that the :god: the good book speaks of exists in any way, shape, or form proposed

shucks

nonsense

meowmix

I think it's just an x-ray of Rush Limbag's head.

Bluto

LOL , Meowmix , Please don't insult the Australopithecus sediba . ; ))))

Pterocarya frax...

+1

Fromthe419

Or Michael Moore's, depends on what side of the fence you are on.

Bluto

Yes , there is always the other side of the coin isn't there , but we have to pick which side best fits our own comfort zones . Although in Moore's defense he did stick his neck out to the point of death threats , and in my opinion , unless someone wants to kill you , you aren't rocking the boat . ; )))))

Fromthe419

+1 Although we don't always agree, you push the debate further where we can further elaborate out varied points of view and in the end we might find consensus or at least understand where each of us is coming from.

margaritaville88

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

margaritaville88

Deleted for saying something about a porch? Really??

mikeylikesit

I bet I know what you said and I cant stop laughing!

starryeyes83

To God:

Rap music? and otherwise,good looking men in baggy pants and covered in ugly ink ???

Why ? why? why?????

LOL.

thinkagain

Liberal scientist is an oxymoron.

Liberals ignore clear scientific data that human life begins at conception in order to continue to advocate the legalized killing of humans

Then there's the whole homosexuality thing. To date no study has shown that being gay is genetic.

Don’t forget about the “faith” they have in the global warming myth.

Keep all this in mind when you hear some liberal invoking science with more fervor than a revivalist minister invoking Jesus. Unlike the minister, who has probably at least studied the Bible, liberals will invoke science they don't understand and declare fiction to be fact so long as it seems to support their political position.

eriemom

Think,
Do you really believe that that science and faith cannot co-exist? Why does it have to be an either/or? The belief in a God, or whatever your faith calls a supreme being, requires a leap of faith. That is why religion requires that faith. Science is a process, a way of thinking, that tries to answer questions related to our natural world. It does not require faith or fidelity, and it also does not require us to leave faith out of our lives.

shucks

Science takes more faith to believe in than to believe in God.

example: Everything from nothing?

Bluto

Who ever said everything came from nothing ? Not science .

shucks

You're sure about that?

Bluto

Yes . There are many theories to what or what didn't come before this universe , theories are just that , theories . Until they can be verified beyond doubt they are not fact . There are all kinds of theories out there , but it is up to scientist to hold them up to scrutiny .

shucks

Science says everything came from the Big Bang.

Bluto

That is one theory , scientist are still in the process of proving . 4shizzle , why are you fighting me on this ? I am actually supporting the idea that God could be possible . I guess when people blindly follow a faith they shut out all other possibilities . It's no wonder that people have twisted religion and made it the ugly thing it has become today . Tell me exactly what you believe in , instead of berating others comments . Let's hear some actual thoughts on the subject .

shucks

Why are you getting so crazy? You insisted that you were right. You said science didn't say that.

Science is the study of God's creation.

Bluto

I am right , you are wrong .

thinkagain

I believe that there are two sides to reality.

For all my interest in scientific inquiry, it has never led to a crisis of faith. Au contraire, it was my thirst for knowledge that led to my finding the person of Jesus Christ.

I do not worship science. I worship its creator.

shucks

Good thinking, Think.

Bluto

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

shucks

Your whole head is brown.

WiseManOnceSaid

So you don't believe in the big bang? I fear for our children's future...

Huron_1969

Think... your post comes from bits and pieces of an article found at http://www.americanthinker.com/2...

eriemom

Think,
Try this article.
http://news.sciencemag.org/scien...

thinkagain

@mom I read it...here's one for you.
http://fhu.com/articles/homosexu...

eriemom

"The Foundation of Human Understanding was founded by Roy Masters in 1963 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit church organization. As a recognized and registered religious organization, the Foundation is dedicated to assisting anyone who is interested in perfecting their spiritual natures through the principles of Judeo Christianity. We do this by providing counseling, materials, lectures and assistance to anyone through radio programs, published materials and the World Wide Web."

According to your link homosexuality can be cured. Every pages asks for a donation.

Here's a scary theory. What if the hormones that we are pumping into our meat is causing a change in developing embryo/fetus.

Bluto

I don't believe life begins at conception . I think it always exists in some shape or form even before conception . The individual cells that make us up are alive . Even in death cell activity remains and when they do eventually die , contribute to life in other ways . As for your remark about homosexuality . I am sure their use of " homo " is referring to the genus of bipedal primates , and not Gay or Lesbian people . Your reaching Think . ; ))))

shucks

Say what?
If you are nothing but a bunch of cells and those cells live on without you-- what good are you--what is you?

thinkagain

For the lost, “...life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA...life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” Dawkins

shucks

Thanks, Think

I see where Bluto is coming from.
Dawkins isn't so smart.

Bluto

Dawkins is a scientist , but his writings on the subject of God are philosophical .

shucks

So? I knew he was a scientist and I know what he says about God.
Also he's a Pastafarian and he cleans the elephant cage with his tongue.

Bluto

Yep , More nonsense . You got nothing.

shucks

I don't know what you said but: ha ha ha at you.

shucks

I see that you filled in the comment space censored by the moderators.

Bluto

So , you are saying you don't believe we are made of cells ? What is it then , snakes , snails , and puppy dog tails ? All living things live , die and what remains contributes to sustaining other living things . That is fact . What happens to our consciousness after we die is speculation . Maybe God does exist maybe it doesn't . That's all I'm saying . Perhaps science may actually prove that someday . Besides what good has religion brought to the world ? Centuries of war , hate , and discrimination towards each other . What is good that ?

shucks

What a mess. Why don't you ask one question?

Bluto

Sorry , I didn't mean to tax your brain . Guess four is too many for you to process all at once . ; )))))

shucks

By the way , what does this ; ))))) mean?

Bluto

Life is in all plants and animals , down to the smallest cells , but it is the search for truth and understanding that gives OUR lives purpose .

shucks

Sounds wise but it's not.

Bluto

If you hate science so much why don't you reject all it's trappings ?

shucks

Where'd you get that conclusion?

Bluto

So , you just like to argue , I guess .

shucks

You don't? Ha!

Bluto

Please , don't tell me you're one of those people who goes to church every Sunday and thinks that makes all their sins go away.

shucks

You don't know much about science or God.

Bluto

I can tell you're a person of high intelligence , especially after reading your masterful debate with bobshmway . Like two peas in a pod . You funny .

shucks

It was fun.
Flattery will get you nowhere.

shucks

By the way , what does this ; ))))) mean?

TuffNutts2011

Sweet Brown died??

The Big Dog's back

Try watching Ancient Aliens, you might learn something.

thinkagain

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

The Big Dog's back

You're right. What was I thinking. If it doesn't come from Fox news or rush it can't be true.

Fromthe419

4shizzle, I posted on the gas price increase and our earlier converstion made me think. I stated earlier that God and Science can coexist since before the Big Bang there was nothing and everything came from it and something had to create the Big Bang. For centuries alchemists tried to make gold from lesser elements and now we have the Fed that creates currency from thin air that has value like gold. The article was talking about how much gas was 10 years ago versus today. With central banks printing money out of thin air and infusing it into the economy we all see our purchasing power decrease, but I digress. Sixty years ago we had God in our schools (1950's) and our Nation prospered, then the sixties happened and we turned our backs on God and drugs, hippies, unfunded wars, etc came to the forefront and our nation has declined since. If our Nation is ever to recover we need to look to principles of the Bible and stop our worship of the new God the Almighty dollar and it's debt based creation.

shucks

ok.

WiseManOnceSaid

More wars and death were in the name of your god or someone else's god. It's all silly stories. What seperates Christian mythology from Greek mythology?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o...

shucks

Christianity has archaeological evidence.
For example: Christianity came out of the Jewish religion.
Are the Jews a myth? Is Jerusalem a real place?

http://www.gotquestions.org/Bibl...