This week's big paleo story centers on Ardipithecus ramidus, a species of hominid that lived in the woodlands of Ethiopia, 4.4 million years ago. UCMP Faculty Curator and Human Evolution Research Center (HERC) director Tim White is co-director of the Middle Awash Project, the team of researchers that excavated and studied the fossils. The team includes UCMP Faculty Curator and HERC Associate Faculty member Leslea Hlusko. Find out more about the discovery:
Tim and his colleagues found a lot of fossil material — over 125 pieces from the skeleton of a single individual (nicknamed Ardi), as well as specimens from nearly three dozen other individuals. The teeth provide clues about the species' social structure, and the pelvis, hand, and foot bones indicate how it may have walked and climbed.
If you're on the Berkeley campus, be sure to check out HERC's exhibit on human evolution, on the second floor of the Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley. There is a new section of the exhibit about Ardipithecus ramidus.