Convoluted human evolution: Early spine changes (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 01, 2017, 00:54 (918 days ago) @ David Turell

More commentary on this 3.3 million year old humanoid child with a humanlike spine and an upper torso more apelike:

"The fossil, also called  “Selam” — “peace” in the Ethiopian Amharic language — has revealed numerous insights into our early human relatives. But Alemseged said one of the most startling findings comes from the toddler's spine, which had an adaptation for walking upright that had not been seen in such an old skeleton.

"The result, he said, is a creature whose upper body was apelike, but whose pelvis, legs and feet had familiar, humanlike adaptations.

“If you had a time machine and saw a group of these early human relatives, what you would have said right away is, 'What is that chimpanzee doing walking on two legs?' " Alemseged said.

"The findings, show for the first time the spinal column was humanlike in its numbering and segmentation. Though scientists know that even older species were bipedal, researchers said Selam's fossilized vertebrae is the only hard evidence of bipedal adaptations in an ancient hominid spine.

“'Yes, there were other bipedal species before, but what is making this unique is the preservation of the spine, which simply is unprecedented,” Alemseged said. “Not only is it exquisitely preserved, but it also tells us that the human-type of segmentation emerged at least 3.3 million years ago. Could there have been other species with a similar structure, yes, but we don't know for sure.”

"Human beings share many of the same spinal structures as other primates, but the human spine — which has more vertebrae in the lower back, for example — is adapted for efficient upright motion, such as walking and running on two feet."

Comment: What this further study shows is that our earliest ancestors coming out of trees had advanced bipedal changes before permanently climbing down. Their upper body was apelike and last to change. It seems like evolution follows the pattern of change first and use second, as the big brain, size first use second.

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