I'm just wild about Ardi.


The other day I watched a show about Ardipithecus on the Discovery channel, and I am smitten.   Ardi, as she is called, was a woman who lived more than a million years before Lucy.   I call her a woman because right now scientist seem to mostly agree that the definition of human is bipedal mammal.   Old definitions, like ability to use tools and ability to communicate, were applying to too many animals for our taste.   So Ardi was most certainly bipedal on the ground, but she was quadrupedal in trees, using her grasping toes to maneuver.   Judging from Ardi’s teeth, she and her ancestors were not choosing their mates on their ability to beat up other males, but instead perhaps on their ability to carry food long distances, thus getting better quality food.   The canine teeth are not huge and sharp like a chimpanzee, so their society probably didn’t have the males battling it out, but worked together to survive.   At four feet tall and 110 pounds, can’t you just imagine her swinging from tree branch to tree branch, then climbing down and walking off into the wilderness?   Wonderful Ardi, she has surprised us all!

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