Our human family is obsessed with finding our origins—specifically, with finding our origins in something howling naked in the trees. That makes great special effects for billionaire-backed documentaries . . . but how is it working out in the lab?
The iconic year 2001 featured two promising “earliest humans.” Nine skulls of Sahelanthropus, dated between 6 and 7 million years old, were found at various locations in Africa. Orrorin turned up in Kenya, also dated at 6 million years of age. But there wasn’t much left of Orrorin, either: an upper femur is the most important fossil.
Ah, but then “Ardi,” Ardipithecus ramidus from Ethiopia, burst on the scene in 2009, dated at about 5 million years old. She took the media crown because she still had a skeleton, even though initial reports said it had been “crushed nearly to smithereens.”
– From “Disappearing Link – Our Evolutionary Ancestors Keep A-Changing,” Salvo