'Big Man' fossil looks more human than chimp

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 1:07pm

A fossil discovery described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is inconsistent with common notions that our direct evolutionary ancestors looked more like chimpanzees or gorillas than humans.

Like the famous "Lucy," this fossil, dubbed "Big Man," is Australopithecus afarensis, a bipedal primate and direct ancestor of humans. Big Man stood about 5'5," had legs that would have been good for running, and had a rib cage similar to our own. He was much taller than Lucy.

It all raises questions about whose bodies evolved most from our direct ancestors, those of human or nonhuman great apes.

 

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