View Full Version : Ruggedly Built, Tree-Climbing Human Ancestor

Jean M
12-08-2013, 02:00 PM
Discovery of Partial Skeleton Suggests Ruggedly Built, Tree-Climbing Human Ancestor


A human ancestor characterized by "robust" jaw and skull bones was a muscular creature with a gorilla-like upper body and more adaptive to its environment than previously thought, scientists have discovered. Researchers found a partial skeleton -- including arm, hand, leg and foot fragments -- dated to 1.34 million years old and belonging to Paranthropus boisei at the Olduvai Gorge World Heritage fossil site in Tanzania. The find, published in the latest edition of the scientific journal PLOS ONE, represents one of the most recent occurrences of P. boisei before its extinction in East Africa.

"This is the first time we've found bones that suggest that this creature was more ruggedly built -- combining terrestrial bipedal locomotion and some arboreal behaviors -- than we'd previously thought," said Charles Musiba, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver, part of the international research team. "It seems to have more well-formed forearm muscles that were used for climbing, fine-manipulation and all sorts of behavior."

Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, Travis Rayne Pickering, Enrique Baquedano, Audax Mabulla, Darren F. Mark, Charles Musiba, Henry T. Bunn, David Uribelarrea, Victoria Smith, Fernando Diez-Martin, Alfredo Pérez-González, Policarpo Sánchez, Manuel Santonja, Doris Barboni, Agness Gidna, Gail Ashley, José Yravedra, Jason L. Heaton, Maria Carmen Arriaza. First Partial Skeleton of a 1.34-Million-Year-Old Paranthropus boisei from Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e80347 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080347