Ancient hominids could climb trees

Published on November 1st, 2012 | by Sevaan Franks

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The discovery of a 3.3-million-year-old shoulder blade belonging to a Australopithecus afarensis suggests that the early hominids could climb trees.

Lucy and her cohorts spent plenty of time on foot but climbed trees to forage for fruits and to escape predators, Green proposes. Based on the new analysis of the Dikika fossils, he says, “juvenile members of A. afarensis may have been more active climbers than adults.”

A previous analysis of the Dikika child, dubbed Selam by its discoverers, suggested that the youngster’s shoulder blades — partly encased in rock at the time — resembled those of gorillas. Green and Alemseged have since freed the fossils from surrounding rock. Comparisons to other hominid fossils, modern apes and humans suggest that Selam’s shoulder blades are generally apelike enough to have enabled regular tree-climbing.

[Full story]

Story: Bruce Bower, ScienceNews | Photo: Zeresenay Alemseged/Dikika Research Project

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