Feeds

Lucy in 3.4 million-year-old cross-species cave tryst

New homonin fossil discovered

Security for virtualized datacentres

The statement from the abstract is as prosaic as it gets: “A newly discovered partial hominin foot skeleton from eastern Africa indicates the presence of more than one hominin locomotor adaptation at the beginning of the Late Pliocene epoch.”

The implication, however, is profound: potentially a new species of hominin has been discovered in 3.4 million-year-old Ethiopian fossils, launching either a new direction in the study of human evolution, or at the very least, a fabulous argument about whether the fossils are or are not a separate species.

A new study published in Nature suggests that Lucy – the female specimen famous for identifying Australopithecus afarensis – didn’t represent the only line of hominins.

Unlike Australopithecus afarensis, the as-yet-unnamed specimen retains a characteristic not of upright-walking humans but a tree-dweller: an opposable big toe, designed for grasping tree branches.

According to the New York Times, the foot is similar to those of the species Ardipithecus ramidus, known from 4.4 million-year-old fossils from Ethiopia.

Of key importance in the find is that it demonstrates that humans probably didn’t take a single path to bipedal locomotion; rather, various lines seem to have evolved, with only one – us – the eventual winning line. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.