Discovering Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus)
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Discovering Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus)

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Discovering Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus)Following publication in October, 2009 of multiple papers on the discovery and study of a 4.4 million-year-old female partial skeleton nicknamed Ardi in the journal Science, Discovery Channel presented a world premiere special, Discovering Ardi that documented the sustained, intensive investigation leading up to this landmark publication of the Ardipithecus Ramidus fossils.

The scientific investigation began in the Ethiopian desert 17 years ago, and now opens a new chapter on human evolution, revealing the first evolutionary steps our ancestors took after we diverged from a common ancestor we once shared with living chimpanzees.

Ardi's centerpiece skeleton, the other hominids she lived with, and the rocks, soils, plants and animals that made up her world were analyzed in laboratories around the world, and the scientists have now published their findings in the prestigious journal Science.

Ardi is now the oldest skeleton from our (hominid) branch of the primate family tree. These Ethiopian discoveries reveal an early grade of human evolution in Africa that predated the famous Australopithecus nicknamed Lucy.

Ardipithecus was a woodland creature with a small brain, long arms, and short legs. The pelvis and feet show a primitive form of two-legged walking on the ground, but Ardipithecus was also a capable tree climber, with long fingers and big toes that allowed their feet to grasp like an ape's. The discoveries answer old questions about how hominids became bipedal.

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Kim
Kim
6 years ago

I appreciate this article sticking to the facts but why do all the other articles written about Ardi use the word evolve & link at all?? In all the articles about Ardi she walked upright had a stiff toe & flat teeth. She's human. Gees! Just give up the missing link issue please! I'm not even sure there's is evidence of fur in the face either. That seems presumptious to me. Just saying over 5 million yrs old & human. Can't go too much older...

ardinata
ardinata
10 years ago

I think not to say humans come from apes because until now apes that still exist, and scientists still can not explain it clearly, if true ape ancestor Homo sapiens, was evidenced by the ability of technology can not answer whether ardi Ardipithecus ramidus is the same and there are other opinions, our ancestors came from adam, so far the scientists focused on the discovery of human-like fossils why not prove humans came from adam and Eve, scientists from either side but the other side is less developed

Jeff Mintz
Jeff Mintz
12 years ago

they go on about how bipedality is so weird and special in humans. Hello! birds do it all the time! But they say it's weird in all of the animal kingdom. Birds are a part of the animal kingdom! If they said bipedality is unique in just the mammal kingdom then i would understand. but these are scientist, come on... also a lot of dinosaurs walked bipedaly so its not that weird at all . PS: i know, birds are related to dinos.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

There is, of course, the opposite... by John Pickrell
"Humans, Chimps Not as Closely Related as we thought." But I'll let you come up with your own conclusions.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Never ever ask a question.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

So let us look at them. What do you say?

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

So what do you say? Hard to prove? What do you say?

Epicurus
Epicurus
12 years ago

it is clear from the constant wall of text that you guys have been baited...i called this from the start.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

I looked up Emory's Yerkes Center. They say they house 3400 non-human primates. They don't say how many human primates they house.

Vlatko
Vlatko
12 years ago

@Steve,

If you work in Emory University's Darwinian Neuroscience Lab, and you disagree with the per-reviewed document authored by a diverse international team in 2009, plus if you have some solid evidence (behavioral or not), why in the Thor's name you're not publishing your own document to AAAS for per-review.

The community will try to shred it to pieces but if the logic and the evidence is on your side you shouldn't be afraid. After all you say you're scientist, you know how things work in the process.

I encourage you to start working on your new thesis. Your friend can help you. Good luck.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

you people are such scientist.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

Please someone address that logical problem without saying I don't know enough about anthropology or referring me to studies that make the same assumption.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

educated on what though?

educated has such a positive connotation.

how educated is someone that refuses to listen to logic?
how educated is someone that makes sweeping generalizations and then condemns an entire theory because "our evidence looks better."

your evidence is horse.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Funny how this conversation gets very short if i don't bring GOD in the picture.
If anthropological/archeological science was to come up with an alien looking body (which frankly these could be for what we know), people would be quick to say, he was a sick person or it was an exception or or or...
We have an agreed, by the science community, version of evolution and until someone comes up with a better idea, the educated crowd will bow to and admire the past even though most of them have never set foot on the researched field shovel in hands.
az

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@TDF

Right, they are vanishingly rare. So? So because they are vanishingly rare, we should make a sweeping assumption about our history because the bones of one (assuming all those bones came from the same creature) look similar?

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

AND why is it that (accepted) science does not research the possibility of aliens having altered our conception and perhaps providing a missing link? Why are educated people bringing this idea forward have to be thought as lunatics?
I would think science especially would be very curious about that possibility knowing full well that science itself is about (or wishing) to take humans in deep space.
az

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

In all the years archaeological search have been done, we are presented now and then with a "most ancient" specimen that is suppose to have been collected almost complete within an area. Why is it that there is always just one specimen? Why not 20 or more or less within the area? We know apes hang in groups as we do, so why are they finding 1? Where are all the found specimen that "may" contradict their hypothesis?
az

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

"nuh-uh" is not an argument. prove me wrong....

robertallen1
robertallen1
12 years ago

Do you know enough about the fossil records to state that they are inconsistent. You obviously haven't.

Do you know enough about the scientific evidence for evolution to state that you have more? I don't think you have any at all.

Do you know enough about Ardi to state that it was completely separate from humans and chimps (whatever that means)? You obviously don't know what you're talking about.

Do you know enough about science to characterize it as self-serving? I don't think that you have any idea what you mean by this.

Do you know enough about Jesus to characterize him? No one does--not even you.

You accuse me of uncritically accepting everything I hear and read--well, what and how much have you read? What and how much have you studied? Answer, next to nothing.

Your posts qualify as some of the most ignorant, in both content and thought, ever placed on this website.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

I know that the fossil records are inconsistent and that much conjecture needed to be made to connect missing pieces of the anthropological timeline. The inconstancies are chalked up to what? Unfinished science? Sure...why not. Maybe it's the Devil. You want to talk about evidence, you "scientists" have as much evidence as I do. I know that there is a severe problem with the scientist's argument for Darwin's theories when you consider the possibility that this "Ardi" was completely separate entity from humans today (i.e., that "three-pronged" branch analogy could have had another prong that was "Ardi" and humans as we know it could have extended from the moment He created us). Maybe I can break the problem down for you...Ardi is being used to further the argument that there was a common link between humans and chimps. The argument fails if you consider that Ardi was completely separate from both humans and chimps. I watched an hour and a half of a video that completely didn't examine one fatal flaw in it's own argument. You say science is impartial, I say science is self-serving. Jesus actually DOES care about all of us and it behooves human kind not to get sucked into the self-serving dogma that is science. You may despise me Robertallen1....but I will pray for you. I will pray for all of you. I will pray that you actually listen critically to things you hear and not simply accept them as true.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

I'm just trying to say that there are inconstancies in the arguments conjured up by these "scientists" and the words written by the prophets as they actually experienced it. Free Speech and all that...1st amendment. Wouldn't want to censor people. But, that doesn't mean it's right to confuse everyone with this pseudo-science.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@TDF

I hope that is a joke. I think we all know there is only one God...and he wasn't a monkey nor was he Nordic. This stuff about apes is very nice mental you-know-what...but we don't know for sure. We do know that all those fossils are just put there by the Devil to throw us off from following His word. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but know that the wrong one will send you to the fiery depths of you-know-where.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

This is blasphemy and against the TRUE word of God. You scientists should all be ashamed and I hope that He forgives you and lets you obtain the splendor of Heaven.

Richard Hollis
Richard Hollis
12 years ago

Ye gods, this documentary is frustrating!! 20% facts, 80% rhetoric. JUST GET ON WITH IT!! I have to say I find this happens a lot with the Discovery Channel. Can't they just cut the waffle? And the background music - this isn't an episode of 24.

Meera Rangarajan
Meera Rangarajan
12 years ago

Man at the top of the pyramid is an anthropocentric view. Man has co-evolved alongwith other multicellular organisms and to think that Chimpanzee has preevolved hominid is not tenable. If we go back on the evolutionary scale we may get more and more of Ardi like creatures. Going by the evolutionary theory of Darwin only subtle changes which will be evolutionally important to advance the progeny of an animal or a living being, will be reckoned. The smaller canine, missing tail,bipedalism is sufficient proof that apes are a way different from hominid. My guess is Ardi was a tree climber, the long hands and legs must have been used regularly to grip the branches for foraging. Carrying food for the group is an activity bordering altruism,which might have not evolved during that period. Probabaly if some light could be thrown on Lucy's period we may be able to understand the bonding of groups, as cranial capacity of Lucy is more than that of Arid. If we go back many more million years before Arid, we may come across a smaller version of Arid but not of an ape. The genetical progression has taken place in the Hominid branch of the evolutionary tree only and to reach for the ultimate link between apes and man may not be visible at all. The language area in the brain of man, is the ultimate proof that the two never met, even during the eocene times. I thank Discovery channel for the wonderful presentation.

kelamuni
kelamuni
12 years ago

A little slow, but quite fascinating.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

nice

Scott M
Scott M
12 years ago

I didn't know that greg kinnear was an anthropologist. Dude even sounds like him.

RileyRampant
RileyRampant
12 years ago

great doc. fine detail, in depth participation by sailesse, white & lovejoy, the original anthropologists.

what i find most striking about this species, along with lucy, is that it shows how little reasoning sometimes avails us in predicting the manner by which nature has proceeded upon an evolutionary course (our course, in this instance). we know point z (modern hss and chimps). we presumed point a might be something a lot more like a chimp. wrong.

we reasoned that a thinning of trees would be the trigger to create a habitat conducive to the evolution of bipedality. wrong.

does this mean that reason is of no use? NO. reason is the great hypothesis-generator, the corrective, the evaluative, the technology-inducer - BUT its limitations reinforces the truth that observation is the lingua franca of science, not speculative theories.

to the fellow speculating about hominids living in waist deep water - what about the crocodilians - they might have had something to say about that gambit. (iow, wrong)

cheers

Lysa Fisk
Lysa Fisk
12 years ago

WoW. Someone familiar with the Aquatic Ape theory. Glad to meet you.

Arnold Vinette
Arnold Vinette
12 years ago

Thanks Vlatko for adding this new documentary, Discovering Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus).

At first I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began watching it and half expected it to be a little boring and another adventure into what makes us human.

However I was quickly to be proved wrong as the information presented on the new discovery of Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) was really very interesting.

This discovery of course is only new to the public watching this in-depth documentary as the original Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) bones were first discovered 17 years ago and then the process began to try to understand what had been found.

Documentaries like this are very important both for young people looking to enter into the field of archeology and the public like myself who enjoy being educated on these scientific finds because it shows us the huge amount of time that goes into making these discoveries and trying to solve the puzzles.

I was astonished by the amount of time spent in the field first to find the fossils, then to clean and prepare them, and then to analyze them and try to put them together.

So many people collaborating from all over the world from 30 research institutions (Universities and Colleges) to try and solve the puzzles of where do the pieces go and what do they mean.

And based on the evidence provided one can be forgiving if some mistakes can be made. Some comments suggested that it was ridiculous that so much could be ascertained from the limited bones available. Ie that Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) was a female and walked upright.

However one has to remember that these scientists have worked in the field and their respective disciplines for years and years. There are small nuances of a bone structure that a non professional would miss. So it is easy for a non-professional to be critical.

However when you have a large geographically dispersed professional forensic team working on the case the chances of mistakes occurring becomes less and less.

Again an absolute decision cannot be perfect as the bones are 4 million years old. That anything was found is a miracle in and of itself.

As the documentary went on I found myself being pulled in more and more to the story of what was Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) and what did it look like. Was it really an ancestor of modern man? Was it really bipedal? And how was this design an intermediary step?

To see the scientists, researchers, computer technicians, software developers, and artists at work for years was really something. I think what I also enjoyed the most was the love that these people had for science and discovery and not the love for money that seems so prevalent today in other disciplines.

In the end the Discovery team joined the project and with its resources was able to take Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) to the next level and attempt to bring her to life through modern computer animation techniques. An attempt that I personally thought was very successful.

Is Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) the creature we see reconstructed in the animations? We will never know until a time machine has been invented that will allow us to go back in time.

However based on all of the research done by the scientists and their years of experience in their respective fields I would like to accept their findings as a best guess for what Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) was like 4 million years ago.

The conclusions made at the end made sense with regards to why Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) would survive and prosper to eventually become the modern human race 4 million years. In very slow steps we have evolved from one form to another. The more successful the changes and adaptations the more offspring are able to live and carry on their genes to the next generation.

As these scientists, researchers, archeologists, and paleontologists move back into the fossil record it will be even more interesting to see what they find. Along the way changes may be required to past discoveries as new evidence becomes available.

When dealing with such huge leaps into the past, one can never be absolutely sure. However that should never ever stop science from trying to understand.

Prior to this program to be honest I really was not that interested about where I originated or evolved from. However after this program I am definitely more interested in my family tree.

I look forward to more documentaries like these that showcase the years of effort by specialists in their fields to try and better understand how the human race evolved at its earliest origins.

Special thanks to the Discovery Team who spent the time and effort to put this story together on Ardi (Ardipithecus Ramidus) highlighting the huge time and effort spent by everyone in this very interesting research project.

If I have learned anything in this documentary, it is those parents who are able to bring home the food on a consistent basis at the end of the day, who ultimately succeed in passing on their genes to the next generation. Adaptations in physical ability, mental ability, eating habits, and hunting habits seem to have all contributed to the evolution of modern humans. A process that continues today across the world.

Arnold Vinette
Ottawa, Canada

e_pluribus_unum_USA_Motto
e_pluribus_unum_USA_Motto
12 years ago

Wow – “rogphys” - I was struck by the level of detail provided to show the huge amount of effort, expertise, checking, cross checking, validation, and on and on. How you can so casually dismiss what you just watches is amazing. Excellent video from beginning to end. How anyone can question the proven science of evolution and human origins lives on a flat earth and with a willfully ignorant mind. It is interesting that they say Ardi is a new branch on the tree showing a common ancestry before chimpanzees. Seems likely there would be many such branches between Chimps and Humans.

rogphys
rogphys
12 years ago

The evidence is wanting that its a she..from jaw bone, right! .. piece of pelvis says it walked upright, right!...skeleton is size of chimp and so is brain..has.toe like chimp..face in drawing is a chimp...utter skitzphrenia in the archaelogy world is my diagnosis!

rogphys
rogphys
12 years ago

They think Arti is a she...a she what? the evidence is wanting...so she had saggy breasts and hair everywhere..again wanting...assume it was bipedal from partial pelvic bones and a foot that is like a chimp...brain size of chimp..., one cervical vertebra to ponder speech...no evidence it is human to me.

mitsyA
mitsyA
12 years ago

Did also want to mention that this was a fascinating video. Well done and beautifully presented. Thank you.

mitsyA
mitsyA
12 years ago

Considering all of the anomalies mentioned and even emphasized there are lots of questions here imo. Could Ardipithecus Ramidus be a side development that died out? There is certainly evidence enough of this having happened many times in the evolution of other animals, why not of hominids as well?

Carbon18
Carbon18
12 years ago

I am amazed at the skills demonstrated by the archaeologists and their teams in this film . They are able to see the significance of fossil, while in the field, that to me, look like nothing more than some odd shaped rocks.