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Australopithecus afarensis may have evolved ground-friendly features, but that doesn't prevent climbing

Mankind's older hominid ancestors are believed to have been arboreal dwellers living in the woodlands of Africa.  But about 3.5m years ago, a new hominid, Australopithecus afarensis, emerged.  The most famous fossilized skeleton of the species to be found was nicknamed "Lucy".

I. Tribal Humans are Able to "Walk" up Trees Like Chimps

Researchers generally believed Lucy lived on the ground and marked the important shift from tree habitation to ground habitation.  Explains Dartmouth College anthropology professor Nathaniel Dominy in a new journal paper, "Australopithecus afarensis possessed a rigid ankle and an arched, nongrasping foot.  These traits are widely interpreted as being functionally incompatible with climbing and thus definitive markers of terrestriality."

But by studying Twa hunter-gatherers in Uganda and Agta hunter-gatherers in the Philippines -- modern humans who heavily climb trees to harvest honey, using a specialized motion described as "walking" up the tree -- the researchers found something interesting.  Compared to other tribal peoples -- the Bakiga in Uganda and Manobo in the Philippines -- who survive on agriculture, the climbing-prone gatherers appear to have significantly different musculature that allows them to climb despite lacking grasping feet.

Tree Climbing natives

The climbing motion is similar to that employed by wild chimpanzees.

II. Muscle Modifications

Ultrasound images revealed that the Twa/Agta had significantly longer muscle fibers in the gastrocnemius muscle, commonly referred to as the calf muscle.  This allowed them to stretch their foot towards their shin at angles impossible for standard humans.

An average human would suffer a so-called "failure upon loading" at such an angle.  In other words, even if they were flexible enough to stretch that far, the second they put weight (a load) on the muscles, they would suffer strains and/or tears.  The specialization to increase flexibility and prevent such failure is termed "extreme dorsiflexion".

The maximum "dorsiflexion" demonstrated by the Twa and Agta was around 47 degrees -- that is indeed similar to wild Chimpanzees whose average dorsiflexion is 45.5 degrees.

The authors point out that such a "soft tissue mechanism" could easily be developed in some members of Lucy's species.  Indeed if the Twa/Agta can "walk" up small diameter trees to reach food sources, it seems unlikely that Lucy's brethren would fail to figure out similar techniques.

Researchers may never be able to fully prove whether or not Lucy and her peers really performed such maneuvers.  And controversy will likely remain, in that some researchers are adamant that it is unlikely that Lucy and her kin climbed trees.  Still, the mere possibility seems to suggest that one of the hallmarks of "being human" -- terrestialism -- may not be such a exclusive relationship as was previously thought.

The study was published in the prestigious peer-review journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).  The study co-authors, who did much of the field work studying the tribal peoples of Uganda and the Philippines, were Vivek Venkataraman and Thomas Kraft -- students in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology and Dartmouth.

Sources: PNAS, Dartmouth College

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Oh boy, here we go again...
By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 12:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
Queue the God Squad up to come and deny that we evolved and to claim that the mountains of evidence and 100's of thousands of fossils are all fake and every scientist on Earth is decieving us for thier "Lib-ral-Coll-uj agenda" LOL.

Lets just get this clear right away. Its not even a debate anymore. Its been proven in the 100's of thousands of fossils found all over the earth, documenting every step of the way from a chimp like ape to modern human... I repeat EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Its been proven in our DNA, its been proven via geological evidence as well as archaeological evidence. We evolved, get over it and get over yourselves.

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By AntiM on 1/2/2013 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 1
My Daddy wusn't no monkey, my daddy's daddy wusn't no monkey....

keep going

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 1:07:15 PM , Rating: 4
All hail King Kong and his only begotten son, Donkey, who was sent to earth to giveth us the barrel.

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By Camikazi on 1/2/2013 5:02:33 PM , Rating: 3
Wait... does that mean that Dixie was Mary Magdalena and what about Diddy... he was Judas wasn't he? I knew Donkey shouldn't have trusted a monkey, you just can't trust monkeys.

By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 5:28:51 PM , Rating: 2

Grape Ape will have your soul for eternity now.

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By AnnihilatorX on 1/2/2013 4:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is people are known to be irrational

haters gonna hate, naysayers gonner naysay, and skeptics gonna remain skeptics

What is even worse, uneducated/not-so-bright skeptics

By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 4:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is one of those "think tanks" that's primary purpose is to "think" of plausible sounding talking points to discredit proven science in order to support religious dogma. ... Pointless.

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By ipay on 1/3/2013 1:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
"Rational arguments don't work on religious people. Otherwise, there would be no religious people."
- Doris Egan

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By drycrust3 on 1/4/2013 5:10:18 PM , Rating: 2
its been proven via geological evidence

Does your "every step of the way" teaching account for the Carbon 14 found in lots of coal and oil too, or would that suggest coal and oil are a lot younger than the theory of Evolution proponents have told you?

RE: Oh boy, here we go again...
By drycrust3 on 1/5/2013 1:19:02 PM , Rating: 2

Did they tell you about those extinction events, you know, those catastrophic events where something like 90% of the varieties of life on this planet got wiped out by world wide floods? They forgot to mention those events? Why would they do that? It's like they didn't want you to know the truth. What reason could they have for not wanting to tell the truth?
It seems to me that there are huge amounts of "EVERY STEP OF THE WAY" that you weren't told about, and it seems to me that if people aren't too fussed about telling you the truth, then they'd also not be too fussed about faking the evidence they feed you as well.

Typical evolutionist evidence
By heerohawwah on 1/4/2013 12:11:38 PM , Rating: 1
Quote: "tribal peoples of Uganda and the Philippines" these people are really lucky the evolutionists didn't chop of their heads like Darwins buddies were doing while looking for their missing link. They murdered over a 1000 'tribal' people in Australia alone, they even put people on display in the New York City Zoo. (See Ota Benga) Racism and evolution are evidently still the same thing, even today, apparently tribal people are the only ones who can climb trees...(sarcasm)
This is typical evolutionist science which twists high level, superficial observations to make them appear as as evidence of evolution. 'Lucy' isn't even a 1/4 skeleton and doesn't even have feet, everything they promote about these smashed fragments is fiction, creative thinking not critical thinking.
Darwin observed that, black people had infact dark skin, he observed they spoke a different language, he observed they used different tools and behaved differently... He concluded that they weren't actually human and were a less evolved species when compared to his favorite species, the civilized white man. Darwins evidence is no different than the 'Lucy' evidence and the conclusion are of the same caliber.
Even retrospooty has made similar claims about White and Black people being connected through "evolutionary mechanisms". Based on high level observational evidience of a human migration, black people from location A to B and then 'WOW' white people appeared, and poof we have proof of evolution...(sarcasm)
Sadly, when ever an Intelligent Designer or Creationist ask any relevant question like, show me the DNA evidence, the evolutionists are no where to be found. Due to the fact that the DNA prooves no evolution has ever taken place, it also shows that all human are infact 100% human and that there is only 1 human race not 5 as evolutionists have tried to teach. As for these evolutionary fossils, if you remove the parts taken from other animals, we find that all the 'human' pieces fall 100% within the known structural diveristy found in the human race today. That is to say, its been proven that all apparent neanderthals are actually 100% human.

List of Blatent Fruads by Evolutionists.

By Cheesew1z69 on 1/4/2013 1:23:16 PM , Rating: 3

sounds real credible!


You are a moron, through and through. Is that you Quad?

By hiscross on 1/4/2013 5:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
For all you evolutionist, why don't you connect to a well known al-Qaeda or Taliban person or group and tell them that Mohammed came from a ape, and God doesn’t exist. You may want to put together a time line with pictures how Mohammed ancestors evolved. Remember to include your contact, Facebook and Twitter information.

Lies and Damn Lies
By Ammohunt on 1/2/13, Rating: -1
RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 12:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
You mean other the fact that she was a transitional species in between apes and modern man that lived 2-3 million years ago right?

RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By HostileEffect on 1/2/2013 3:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like an ape to me.

RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 3:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, she was closer to Ape than modern man. She was an early step.

A bit hard to read...

Better worded here, but the pics suck.

RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By retrospooty on 1/2/2013 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By Ammohunt on 1/2/13, Rating: 0
RE: Lies and Damn Lies
By retrospooty on 1/3/2013 7:18:16 AM , Rating: 1
OK I get ya. Yes, there were several species and it's not 100% positive we came from that specific line, but clearly if not our "grandmother to the 100th, she is a cousin, meaning she and us came from an earlier common ancestor. That is still evolution... We did come from apes... Evolution is dynamic.

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