Skeleton discovery suggests human ancestor had gorilla-like upper body

Last Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 - 12:58

Washington: A new research into the discovery of partial skeleton, suggests that the human ancestor characterized by "robust" jaw and skull bones was a muscular creature with a gorilla-like upper body, and more adaptive to its environment than previously believed.

Researchers found a partial skeleton-including arm, hand, leg and foot fragments-dated to 1.34 million years old and belonging to Paranthropus boisei at the Olduvai Gorge World Heritage fossil site in Tanzania.

Charles Musiba, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver, part of the international research team, said that this is the first time we`ve found bones that suggest that this creature was more ruggedly built-combining terrestrial bipedal locomotion and some arboreal behaviors-than we`d previously thought.

He said that it seems to have more well-formed forearm muscles that were used for climbing, fine-manipulation and all sorts of behavior.

While P. boisei was known for its massive jaws and cranium-anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the first skull in 1959 in northern Tanzania-the build and skeletal adaptations of the rest of the archaic hominin`s body have been unknown until recently.

During excavations at Olduvai in 2010-2011, the team discovered the partial skeleton of a large adult individual who is represented by various teeth and skeletal parts.

P. boisei was a long-lived species of archaic hominin that first evolved in East Africa about 2.3 million years ago. In the absence of evidence of other skeletal remains, it was commonly assumed that the skeleton of P. boisei was like that of more ancient species of the genus Australopithecus, from which P. boisei likely evolved.

Musiba said that now they know human ancestor walked was a tree climber.

The size of the arm bones suggests strong forearms and a powerful upper body.

The study has been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

ANI

First Published: Friday, December 6, 2013 - 12:58

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