Lucy and Selam’s species climbed trees: Australopithecus afarensis shoulder blades show partially arboreal lifestyle

Source: Science Daily

Date:October 25, 2012

Source:California Academy of Sciences

Summary:Australopithecus afarensis was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been the subject of much debate. For the first time, scientists have thoroughly examined the two complete shoulder blades of the fossil “Selam.” Analyses of these rare bones showed them to be quite apelike, suggesting that this species was adapted to climbing trees in addition to walking bipedally when on the ground.

For the first time, Midwestern University Professor David Green and Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, Zeresenay Alemseged, have thoroughly examined the two complete shoulder blades of the fossil “Selam,” an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton of an A. afarensis child from Dikika, Ethiopia, discovered in 2000 by Dr. Alemseged. Further preparation and extensive analyses of these rare bones showed them to be quite apelike, suggesting that this species was adapted to climbing trees in addition to walking bipedally when on the ground. “The question as to whether Australopithecus afarensis was strictly bipedal or if they also climbed trees has been intensely debated for more than thirty years,” said Dr. Green. “These remarkable fossils provide strong evidence that these individuals were still climbing at this stage in human evolution.”

The new findings are published in the October 26 issue of the journal Science.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.