From I Love Lucy to I love Ardi
Ever since Darwin’s discovery at the Galapagos Islands, for hundreds of years scientists have been stuck with the theory of evolution being a species being able to evolve within that species. Darwin said himself that there is no evidence of an intermediary species, just evidence of the evolution of a species within that species. The biggest question this leaves open is when does that species turn into another one? A prime example of this would be the tuatara, an amphibian that evolved into a whale. Scientists have proven this to be true but where is the fossil evidence of the transitional species between the two? Scientists have been struggling with finding a transitional species from primates to humans, but knowing it is true that humans are descendents of primates, when and where did primates start to develop into human like creatures? To think that one day a chimpanzee birthed an intelligent, more human like creature that walked upright is absurd, so there has to be a logical explanation for such an occurrence. This leads to the important question. Where is the transitional fossil of humans from primates? Well, a monumental discovery was made of a 4.4 million year old skeleton known as Ardipithecus. “Ardipithecus was discovered in Ethiopia in 1994 between two volcanic strata, the Gaala Tuff Complex and the Daam Aatu Basaltic Tuff by Tim White and a team of researchers.” (archaeologyinfo) “She stood about four feet tall, weighed approximately 110 pounds, over three years scientists found 130 pieces of its skeleton.” (Zorich) The Ardipithecus predates Lucy by 1.2 million years and what it tells us is nothing short of amazing. Being the first bipedal ancestor of humans, Ardipithecus is the transitional species of the quadruped primate, and the more evolved, Lucy.
In doing extensive research and examination which scientists had done for decades one can conclude with this new skeleton Ardipithecus is the transitional species between primates to Lucy to humans that for century’s scientists yearned for. First off, one must understand what came before Ardipithecus to see how it was the transition from that, to Lucy. “Ardipithecus Ramidus was one of two Ardipithecus species, one of which is theoretical. The theoretical species prior to Ardipithecus Ramidus is Ardipithecus Kadabba (Microevolution 1). Both of which were believed to be bipedal and obtained in Ethiopia. The Sahelanthropus Tchadensis is the pre- Ardipithecus species that is thought to be much like the chimpanzee, and has been dated to be about 7 million years old. This ape- like creature is claimed to be the first hominid to ever exist (Microevolution 1). A hominid is “any ape like species prior to the existence of humans with larger than usual brain size in comparison to the rest of the ape families.” (freedictionary) “Sahelanthropus Tchadensis branched-off from the chimpanzee and started the hominid family” (Bioedonline 1). However, it consisted of many traits that the chimpanzee had. It still walked on all fours; it had a grasping foot, and ate many of the same things as a chimpanzee. A fossil of a skull was found in Chad and that is how the Sahelanthropus Tchadensis is known to exist. What makes this skull so extraordinary is its brain size, which is slightly larger than that of a modern day chimpanzee (Microevolution 1). This is the major difference between the Sahelanthropus Tchadensis and a chimpanzee, its brain size. This growth in Sahelanthropus Tchadensis’s brain is alleged to be the evolutionary branch-off that later resulted in the human being.
In the jungles of Chad 7 million years ago survival tactics began to favor intelligence over jaw strength in primates. Which at the time was extremely rare, but because the tactics were favoring intelligence in an already intelligent species it made it even rarer (Microevolution). Now the Ardipithecus comes into play. Ardipithecus is where the...