Early indications of bipedalism in A. afarensis

While we’re waiting to see if one of our paleo people will post at greater length on this, I will call attention to Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Human Origins’ material on the recent publication of a report on a very early specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. It shows evidence of bipedalism as early as 3.6 mya. The specimen is dubbed “Kadanuumuu,” or “big man” in Afar, the language of the region of Ethiopia in which it was found, because it is from a male over 5 feet tall. That contrasts with Lucy, a female only about 3.5 feet tall from 3.2 mya. The skeletal remains overlap Lucy’s considerably with the exception of cranial and dental material which is missing from Kadanuumuu. The work was recently published in PNAS.

Other coverage from the National Science Foundation and from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (one of the founding partners in Case’s Center for Human Origins).