Lucy a Real Swinger

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Lucy a real swinger reported ScienceDaily 25 October 2012 and Science, 2012; 338 (6106): 514 DOI: 10.1126/science.1227123. David Green of Midwestern University and Zeresenay Alemseged, Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, have made a detailed study of shoulder blades from a juvenile skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis found in Dikika, Ethiopia. The most famous member of this species is “Lucy”. The scientists compared the shoulder blades with those of humans and a number of different ape species, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The key features studied were the orientation of the socket in the ball and socket joint (the glenoid fossa) and a ridge on the back of the bone named the spine of the scapula. In humans the socket faces almost straight to the side, and the spine is almost horizontal. In apes the fossa faces upwards and the spine slopes sharply upwards. These features in apes help orientate the arm upwards for tree climbing.

The A. afarensis shoulder blades with their upward facing glenoid fossae and spines strongly resembled ape bones. David Green commented: “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. These remarkable fossils provide strong evidence that these individuals were still climbing at this stage in human evolution”.

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: This finding adds to evidence that Lucy and other Australopithecines were simply tree climbing apes, just like chimps and orangutans. Australopithecines also had wrist bones which indicate they were knuckle walkers when they were on the ground like living chimps and gorillas. The claim that they walked upright with a bipedal (two legged) gait like humans was originally based on a fossil knee that was not found with the original Lucy specimen, an ape-like hip reconstructed by Owen Lovejoy to look human, an isolated foot bone identical to a human foot bone but not found with any other bones, and the Laetoli footprints found in a totally different country from where the Lucy bones were found. Whenever Australopithecines are mentioned in the media they are commonly described as human ancestors. Since the only real evidence we have about them is their bones, the case is now strong enough to state they were nothing more than large tree swinging apes that are now extinct. (Ref. primates, locomotion, brachiation, anthropology)

See our report on the foot bone here, and the Laetoli footprints here.

Read the transcript of Owen Lovejoy describing his “reconstruction” of the Lucy pelvis here.

Evidence News 14 November 2012

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