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As a result Ardi would have walked on her palms as she moved about in the trees—more like some primitive fossil apes than like chimps and gorillas."What Ardi tells us is there was this vast intermediate stage in our evolution that nobody knew about," said Owen Lovejoy, an anatomist at Kent State University in Ohio, who analyzed Ardi's bones below the neck.Radiometric dating of two layers of volcanic ash that tightly sandwiched the fossil deposits revealed that Ardi lived 4.4 million years ago.Older hominid fossils have been uncovered, including a skull from Chad at least six million years old and some more fragmentary, slightly younger remains from Kenya and nearby in the Middle Awash.Combined with modifications to the other toes, the bone would have helped Ardi walk bipedally on the ground, though less efficiently than later hominids like Lucy.
But Ardi's feet, pelvis, legs, and hands suggest she was a biped on the ground but a quadruped when moving about in the trees.
According to the researchers, the pelvis shows a similar mosaic of traits.
The large flaring bones of the upper pelvis were positioned so that Ardi could walk on two legs without lurching from side to side like a chimp.
"It changes everything." Against All Odds, Ardi Emerges The first, fragmentary specimens of Ardipithecus were found at Aramis in 1992 and published in 1994.
The skeleton announced today was discovered that same year and excavated with the bones of the other individuals over the next three field seasons.