Ardi named `scientific breakthrough of 2009`
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Last Updated: Friday, December 18, 2009, 18:08
London: Ardi, the oldest member of the human family tree found so far, has been named the "scientific breakthrough of 2009".

According to prestigious 'Science' journal, the discovery of the seven stone, four-foot tall ape like creature which roamed African forests some 4.4 million years ago just as humans began walking on two legs is the most important breakthrough of this year.

Her discovery, reported in October, sheds light on a crucial period when we were just leaving the trees. Ardi's skeleton, found in Ethiopia, promises to fill in gaps about how we became human and evolved from apes, British newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

Rather than humans evolving from chimps, the find provides evidence that chimps and humans evolved together from another common more ancient ancestor. While she wasn't exactly this "missing link", she was described as its "cousin".

Naming Ardi -- short for Ardipithecus ramidus or "root of the ground ape" -- as the Breakthrough of the Year, Science journal, the magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said it "changed the way we think about early human evolution".

Ardi's discovery topped a list of 10 major landmarks that the magazine, which has more than a million readers, deemed were the most important of the year.

They included the finding of water on the moon, the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, developments in gene therapy and the detection of pulsar gamma ray emissions from outer space.


First Published: Friday, December 18, 2009, 18:08

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