An early ape shows its hand

Aug 08, 2007

Fossils often have provided important insights into the evolution of humans and our ancestors. Even small fossils, such as bones from the hand or foot can tell us much about our ancestor’s and their behavior. Such may be the case with an ape that lived more than nine million years ago.

A study published in the latest journal issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences reports on the structure of the hand of Hispanopithecus, a critically important fossil from an ape that lived during the late Miocene of Spain.

While the authors ponder that the fossil may be from a direct ancestor of living great apes (especially the orangutan), Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy, Kent State University Professor of Anthropology, suggests another possibility in his comment on the article published in the same issue.

A preeminent biological anthropologist in the study of human origins, Lovejoy suggests that the fossil may belong to an extinct ape with its own unique locomotor behavior—a special adaptation and unique form of locomtion that left no modern descendants.

Source: Kent State University

Explore further: Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

Related Stories

Big toe's big bone holds evolutionary key

Mar 13, 2015

Our skeletons hold tell-tale signs that show that human bipedalism – walking upright and on two feet – are unique to humans especially when compared to our closest living relatives, apes. Exactly when ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

8 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed.

The math of shark skin

16 hours ago

"Sharks are almost perfectly evolved animals. We can learn a lot from studying them," says Emory mathematician Alessandro Veneziani.

Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

20 hours ago

Somewhere in the North Atlantic right now, a longfin mako shark—a cousin of the storied great white—is cruising around, oblivious to the yellow satellite tag on its dorsal fin.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.