Scientists reconstruct the spine of Australopithecus sediba

A recent discovery could change our understanding of the human evolutionary process. Indeed, an international team of scientists unearthed a backbone of a human ancestor who walked like men and climbed like apes. Scientists’ report on Australopithecus sediba, nicknamed Issa, contains startling data that could revolutionize science.

Credit: Autralian-Museum

The work focused on lumbar vertebrae, from the lower back of the primate. It’s in the review e-life that the researchers published their study. They reveal that the primate fossil is over two million years old. For clarification, it was discovered in 2015 in South Africa on the site of Malapa.

Recent discoveries have provided a comprehensive overview of the lower vertebrae of the back of this ancestor. To avoid breaking the fragile vertebrae, they were treated after passing through Micro-CT scanner within the University of the Witwatersrand.

Fascinating new information

These vertebrae were then associated with other fossils recovered from the site years earlier. Scientists noticed that they matched the spine of the skeleton fossil identified as an Australopithecus sediba type specimen. Like modern man, Sediba consisted of only five vertebrae.

“While Issa was already one of the most complete skeletons of an ancient hominid ever discovered, these vertebrae virtually complement the lower back and make Issa’s lumbar region a candidate for not just the hominin lower back. the best preserved ever discovered, but also probably the best preserved. “

Berger, study author and leader of the Malapa project

Towards the rewriting of history?

The reconstructed lower vertebrae made it possible to establish similarities with several faculties of modern man. According to the researchers, this species was probably the transition between the Neanderthals and the great apes.

Australopithecus skeleton

“The lumbar region is essential to understanding the nature of bipedalism in our earliest ancestors and to understanding how well they were adapted to walking on two legs. “

Professor Scott Williams, New York University and lead author of the study

These new data on Australopithecus sediba imply a questioning the family tree of the human species. Researchers will look into it to better understand the physiological formation of modern man. Surprising revelations could thus be expected.

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