Study: Man did not evolve from apes

Oct. 1, 2009 at 1:54 PM
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KENT, Ohio, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. biological anthropologist says he's determined humans did not evolve from apes, but, rather, apes evolved from humans.

Kent State University Professor C. Owen Lovejoy, who specializes in the study of human origins, said his findings came from a study of Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what now is Ethiopia.

"People often think we evolved from apes, but no, apes in many ways evolved from us," Lovejoy said. "It has been a popular idea to think humans are modified chimpanzees. From studying Ardipithecus ramidus, or 'Ardi' (a partial female skeleton) we learn that we cannot understand or model human evolution from chimps and gorillas."

Ardi is "not a chimp," paleoanthropologist Tim White of the University of California-Berkeley, told the San Jose Mercury News. "It shows us what we used to be. It bridges a gap."

Until Ardi was discovered, the earliest specimen of human evolutions was Australopithecus, a bipedal "ape man" that lived 1-4 million years ago, the newspaper said, noting the most famous member of the genus was the 3.2 million-year-old skeleton nicknamed "Lucy" that was found in 1974.

Ardi, White said, is older and more primitive than Lucy, belonging to a new type of early hominid that was neither chimpanzee nor fully human.

Lovejoy, White and other scientists present their research in a special Oct. 2 issue of the journal Science.

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