Arhaeological Tour

human ancestor ever found

The world's oldest and most complete skeleton of a potential human ancestor -- named "Ardi," short for Ardipithecus ramidus -- has been unveiled by an international team of 47 researchers.
Their unprecedented, 17-year investigation of Ardi is detailed in a special issue of the journal Science.
The 4.4 million-year-old hominid opens up a new chapter on human evolution because "it is as close as we have ever come to finding the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans," project co-director Tim White told Discovery News.
"This is not an ordinary fossil," added White, a paleontologist in the University of California at Berkeley's Human Evolution Research Center. "It's not a chimp. It's not a human."
Instead, he said, "It shows us what we used to be."

 



Archaeology Excavations At Aksum

Yeha

Aksum is located 2,200 metres above sea level on a flat plateau deep in the interior of Ethiopia on Africa's horn. The ancient city wielded great influence over trade in agricultural produce, ivory and gold. Via the port of Adulis the Aksumites held trading prominence on both shores of the Red Sea and rose economically on the interchange with the Roman Empire.
The Kings of Aksum once ruled the great African power of Ethiopia. Little is known of the ancient Aksumites and an archaeology excavation of the old city is an important source of relevant data.

The Royal Tombs of Aksum
Blue Nile falls


During his formative years, archaeologist Stuart Munro-Hay had the good fortune to work with the esteemed scholar Neville Chittick of the British Institute of Eastern Africa, as he excavated the Iron Age site of Aksum in what is now Ethiopia. The 1974 excavation proved a thrilling experience, as is clear from the glimpse Stuart provides us with, into what the excavation was like and what he learned from it.

Aramis (Ethiopia)
Gondar

 

Aramis is the name of an archaeological site located in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia, where early human ancestor Ardipithecus ramidis lived 4.4 million years ago. Investigated by Tim White in the early 1990s, Aramis has produced skeletal material from over fifty individual hominids so far, mostly teeth and cranial fragments.

 

Bodo Cranium (Ethiopia)
Axum

 

The Bodo Cranium is a nearly complete hominin skull recovered from a site in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia. Bodo is a controversial artifact. Some scientists argue that it is a Homo erectus skull with Homo sapiens-like characteristics. Most recently it has been assigned to Homo heidelbergensis. Cutmarks on the skull are interpreted to show evidence of cannibalism. The Bodo cranium has been dated to 600,000 years before the present and is one of the most complete skulls found from the period in Africa to date.

 

Gona (Ethiopia)
Debre Damo

 

At 2.6 million years old, the Lower Paleolithic site called Gona or Kada Gona in Ethiopia is the earliest site yet to contain evidence of chipped stone tool making.
The tools consist of cores and core fragments, whole and broken stone flakes, and a small number of retouched flakes, an assemblage not unlike that from several somewhat younger sites of the Oldowan tradition, such as Hadar and Omo Kibish in Ethiopia and Lokalalei in Kenya.
Exactly who made the stone tools is a bit of a controversy. At the contemporary site of Bouri (in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia), Australopithecus garhi is implicated; while at Lokalalei, some currently unidentified form of Homo has been suggested.

 

Bouri (Ethiopia)
Lalibela

 

The paleoanthropological region called Bouri is located within the Middle Awash study area of Ethiopia. The Bouri formation, located near the village of Bouri, Ethiopia, has contained within it four archaeological and paleontological-bearing members dated between 2.5 million and 160,000 years ago.

 

Lucy (Hominid at AL 288, Ethiopia)
Dallol (Denakil Depression)

 

Lucy is the name of the nearly complete skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis. She was the first nearly complete skeleton recovered for the species, found in 1974 at the Afar Locality (AL) 228, a site in the Hadar archaeological region on the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia. Lucy is about 3.18 million years old, and is called Denkenesh in Amharic, the language of the local people.
Lucy is not the only early found at Hadar. Many more A. afarensis hominids were found at AL-333. Fieldwork at Hadar continued in the 1990s, revealing several archaeological sites which date between 6 million years ago and 150,000 years years ago. To date, over 360 A. afarensis skeletons or partial skeletons have been found in the Hadar region. Two hundred sixteen were found at AL 333 and together with Al-288 are referred to as "the First Family".
Also included at Hadar are and a Homo habilis dated to 2.33 million years ago.

Lucy's Significance

Although her discovery did indeed make some major changes in the understanding of pre-human hominids, I personally think the most significant thing about Lucy is that she was the topic of one of the most popular general science books ever published. The book by Johanson and Edey Maitland, called Lucy, the Beginnings of Mankind did a great deal toward making the scientific chase for the human ancestors understandable to the public.
Excavations at Hadar were conducted by Donald Johanson in the 1970s, and again in the 1990s.

 

Middle Awash
Dallol (Denakil Depression)

 

The Middle Awash is part of the very rich archaeological region in Ethiopia called the Afar Triangle, where abundant Middle Pleistocene hominid sites have been found.
Investigators of this region include John Desmond Clark and Tim White; Clark found remains of Ardithiecus ramidus in the Middle Awash.

 

Omo Kibish (Ethiopia)
Dallol (Denakil Depression)

 

Omo Kibish is the name of one of several sites within an ancient rock formation called Kibish, along the Omo River at the base of the Nkalabong Range in Ethiopia. Kibish is where excavations by Richard Leakey and others recovered Homo sapiens remains as old as 125,000 years before the present. One site in particular, called Kamoya’s Hominid Site (KHS) or Omo Kibish I, contained a nearly complete skeleton of an adult male Homo sapiens sapiens.
Recent Potassium-Argon dating of the volcanic tuffs at Omo Kibish I have suggested to some researchers that the skull dates between 104,000 and 196,000 years ago, and that the likeliest date is closer to 195,000.
If correct, this date makes Omo Kibish one of the earliest known Homo sapiens sites on the planet. John Shea has argued that the human adaptations seen at Omo are similar to those of roughly contemporaneous humans living in at least the northern part of eastern Africa between 50,000 and 250,000 years ago. These issues remain unresolved, however, because fossils of that age are so rare, and because variations in cranial and post-cranial morphology between Omo and such sites as Broken Hill or Elandsfontein are substantial.

 

 

Ardi,' Oldest Human Ancestor, Unveiled
Dallol (Denakil Depression)

 

human ancestor ever found

Ardi dates to 4.4. million years and may be the oldest The world's oldest and most complete skeleton of a potential human ancestor -- named "Ardi," short for Ardipithecus ramidus -- has been unveiled by an international team of 47 researchers.
Their unprecedented, 17-year investigation of Ardi is detailed in a special issue of the journal Science.
The 4.4 million-year-old hominid opens up a new chapter on human evolution because "it is as close as we have ever come to finding the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans," project co-director Tim White told Discovery News.
"This is not an ordinary fossil," added White, a paleontologist in the University of California at Berkeley's Human Evolution Research Center. "It's not a chimp. It's not a human."
Instead, he said, "It shows us what we used to be."

Placement on the Human History Timeline
The actual last common ancestor of chimps and humans probably lived between five and 10 million years ago, based on genetic and other estimates, so Ardi falls somewhere between this still unknown speciesand "Lucy," the famous 3.2 million-year-old "ape-man" hominid, also found in Ethiopia, belonging to the genus Australopithecus.
"If you dig up in younger time horizons at the site where Ardipithecus was found you have Australopithecus, so we feel that we are in a position to say that Ardipithecus may have given rise to Australopithecus, which in turn gave rise to Homo (sapiens)," White said.
Ardi, who was a female, may or may not have had any direct descendants. Her species may have given rise to Lucy's species, Australopithecus.

Bones Reveal Appearance and Behavior
The First Key Differences Between Hominids and Apes
Ardi could climb trees, using lengthy fingers and big toes for grasping, but she could also walk on the ground on two feet.
The Making of Families, Not War
Myth Busted: Humans Never Evolved From Chimpanzees

 

 

 



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