archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Great Ape Fossils Spark New Thoughts on Evolution of Bipedalism

Thursday, November 7, 2019

TÜBINGEN, GERMANY—Live Science reports that the 11-million-year-old fossils of four or more individuals from a previously unknown great ape species have been discovered in southeastern Germany. Paleontologist Madelaine Böhme of the University of Tübingen said the anatomy of the species, dubbed Danuvius guggenmosi, points to a previously unknown style of locomotion that may offer clues to the evolution of bipedal walking. The 21 bones of a male Danuvius guggenmosi indicate the creature weighed between 37 and 68 pounds, and had human-like legs with grasping toes and elongated, ape-like arms that would have allowed it to move easily through the tree tops. But, in all, the creatures’ fingers were not as robust as those found in chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas, who use their knuckles while walking. Böhme thinks Danuvius moved by a process of “extended limb clambering,” and would have been able to stand in the treetops by grasping small branches with its toes. “Danuvius is like an ape and a hominin in one,” she explained. For more on the evolution of bipedalism, go to "The Human Mosaic."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement