Video: Ardipithecus ramidus, evolution of man, chimps have more evolved hands

By Grant Jacobs 31/12/2009

Science has an excellent video exploring the science of Ardipithecus ramidus on their website.

I can’t embed it (as far as I can tell), so you’ll have to go over there to view it.

There’s excerpts from the authors, lots of good graphics showing the skeleton, it’s features and how they ties in with the evolution of man.

Captions are provided for the hard-of-hearing: select this by clicking on the tab to the top-right of the video.

There is an interesting remark that:

More primitive morphological characters and systems have been retained [in humans] and as a consequence, even the human hand today is probably more primitive than the chimpanzee hand today is.

This makes sense if you think of human and chimpanzees evolving independently, with chimpanzees developing the hand further than we as a species have. (‘Primitive’ to someone studying evolution simply means more resembling the earlier forms.)

You can read additional material on-line, free.

Although it’s a bit of a long-winded registration, it gives you access to all papers older than one year as well as the current additional material: some might find it worthwhile for that, too.

Laelaps, among many other places, has an article with some of the back story and more images than the one I’ve shown here.

My only gripe, a small one, is that I wish the video were larger. While it is very sharp, it’s also small! Then again, the small size probably ensures a fast uninterrupted replay over slower networks.