During an excavation in the middle Awash Region of Ethiopia, Haille- Sellaise unearthed six hominid teeth. These were at first thought to be the fossilized teeth of Ardipithecus Ramidus. The teeth have now been determined to be from the late Miocene, and those of Ardipithecus Kadabba. These are the oldest hominid remains found, to date.
Upon earlier digs in this region between 1997 and 2000, Haille- Sellasie discovered an earlier tooth and fragments of an arm bone. These remains were first thought to be those belonging to “Ardipithecus Ramidus Kadabba, a subspecies of a younger hominid” (Science Daily). However, after the further recent teeth discoveries it has been decidedly evident that these belong to Ardipithecus Ramidus. The hominid has enough evidence to be its own species rather than a subspecies of Ardipithecus Ramidus Kadabba, as earlier thought. This could possibly mean that “The new fossils show the most primitive canines ever found among hominids” (Science Daily).
Much can be told about the lifestyle of an animal through the wear and acquired shape of their teeth. In the case of Ardipithecus Kadabba this implicates that this species may be the first divergence from the chimpanzee line. “In the apes, the upper canine is continually honed against the lower third premolar to keep it sharp. Human canines lack this function” (Sanders). What is gathered from this information is that the teeth of Ardipithecus Kadabba may be that of the oldest known hominids, and the first to branch off from chimpanzees. Also an implication may be that “the newly evolved hominids were living in radically different, less competitive social structure than seen in modern chimps” (Sanders). The sharp canine would probably be used to injure, and in fights between males in hopes to impress females. In today’s chimps the fact that Ardipithecus Kadabba (as closely related to chimpanzees as it is) lacks this feature is an indicator of this.
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