Extinct Human Ancestor Walked Upright: Evidence from 50 Years Ago

Anthropologist D. Carl Johanson has made a groundbreaking discovery in Ethiopia – he found a skull fragment, shin and thigh bones of a 3-million-year-old man that belonged to an ape man (hominid) of the genus Australopithecus. The scientist announced at a news conference, “We have absolute, concrete evidence that our ancestors walked on two legs over 3 million years ago.”

This discovery is significant because it provides definitive proof that our ancestors walked on two legs much earlier than previously thought. Fossil analyses suggest that several hominid species ambled around on two legs about 5 million to 7 million years ago. However, some paleoanthropologists are still skeptical about this claim. They believe that the bone found by Johanson may not be enough to prove a two-legged gait conclusively.

One example of this skepticism is the Sahelanthropus tchadensis bone, which is an upper leg bone from an older known hominid species. Although it bears signs of upright walking, some scientists think it may have been an ape that walked upright at times. Nonetheless, the discovery made by Johanson is still significant as it provides us with more insight into the evolutionary history of humans.

Questions or comments on this article can be directed to feedback@sciencenews.org. Maria Temming was previously the staff writer for physical sciences at Science News and is now the assistant editor at Science News Explores. She holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and English and a master’s in science writing. This article was supported by readers like you who donate to Science News today and help support quality science journalism.

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