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A good fossil
« on: 2004-11-19 10:26:00 »
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"Paleontologists in Spain say you don't find a good fossil, the good fossil finds you," Moyà-Solà said in a news release.

Ancient Ape Discovered -- Last Ape-Human Ancestor?

In Spain scientists have discovered 13-million-year-old fossils of new species of ape. The species may have been the last common ancestor of humans and all great apes living today.

The great apes—which later gave rise to humans and which now include orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas—are thought to have diverged from the lesser apes about 11 to 16 million years ago. Today's lesser apes include the gibbons.

The new species was christened Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, after the village, Els Hostalets de Pierola, and region, Catalonia, where it was found. Like great apes and humans, Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, had a stiff lower spine and other special adaptations for climbing trees.


"The importance of this new fossil is that for the first time, all the key areas that define modern great apes are well preserved," Moyà-Solà said. The fossil find includes parts of the skull, ribcage, spine, hands, and feet, along with some other pieces (see picture gallery).

By studying the fossil bones, the researchers could tell that they belonged to an ape that shared many important similarities with modern great apes and humans.

In particular, this ape had special adaptations for tree climbing, just like humans and other great apes do.


Monkeys, which belong to a more primitive group, have more generalized, versatile movement abilities and lack these particular traits.

« Last Edit: 2004-11-19 10:27:27 by rhinoceros » Report to moderator   Logged
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