Ardipithecus ramidus or Ardi is a human ancestor or hominin who lived between 4.5 million years ago. The name originated from Afar language word “Ardi” meaning ground or floor, and ramid, which means root. The species developed by the radioscopic dating methods (radioactive decay rate of isotopes). It is one of the oldest species that has the most prominent features of hominins. Having the most accurate link to hominin features, Ardi is the best evidence for research about early hominins. The first Ardi fossil was found in Ethiopia near Awash River in 1994 which dates back to 4.4 million years ago. The fossils discovered had complete cranial and dental structure, and the obligate structure describes that shows that the species had developed the property of walking upright. It has been found that Ardi has anatomical relation to first human species. This essay will discuss the anatomy of this species, the environment she lived in, the social behavior and potential interactions with other species.
This time I have decided to travel back to 4.3 million years ago to the city of Gona in Ethiopia to discover the Middle Awash Region and my early human ancestors who lived there. I sat in my time machine and traveled 4.3 years back. As I stepped out of my time machine, I saw a chimpanzee-like creature that was about 4 feet tall but weighing about 50 kilos. The creature that was later named as Ardi by the researchers had long arms, huge hands, and chimpanzee-like feet. The creature was standing upright like modern humans and had a developed skull and teeth with main frontal incisors. Like most chimpanzees, Ardi had a projected face and shorter neck. The teeth of Ardi were developed liked chimpanzees and humans with relatively shorter incisors but longer molars. The limbs of Ardi were developed, a developed shoulder bone and bicep muscle. The body posture was not curved like apes and mostly upright, suggesting that species had an upright backbone.
During my visit, I have discovered that there are two possible environmental belongings. The species was found living in the grassy habitat of Middle Awash close to the Awash River this environment was relatively open and grassy meadow. The specie was also found in Gona region which was mostly closed woodland. Based on the fossil discovery of the 1990s it is safe to say that the habitat of this species was closed woodlands rather than a vast grassland. This discovery bridges the gap to our research about the time when we moved to live in green lands and left the forest life.
I found the diet of Ardi mixed like modern day omnivores. The species survived on plants, fruits, and vegetables. The dental structure of Ardi suggests that they were not able to eat hard foods like nuts and seeds. The diet suggests that the species had not developed the sense of using tools or using tools for hunting. This suggests that the diet did not include meat of other species.
The Ardi social behavior describes that the species had developed behavior. They learned to live in a civilized manner with no male-male dominance, and they did not fight for dominance or food. The reason given in future researches bases their argument on the fact that Ardi’s frontal incisors were not long and sharp, which suggests that they were not used to show aggressive or defensive behavior which means that there were no more fighting over females or food. They learned to live in groups and families and had learned the concept of society.
I have seen most males collecting food and bringing them to their homes. As I was sitting behind a rock, I saw a male chased by a group of baboons. The male probably had entered the baboon territory and collected the fruits. This angered the baboons, and they reacted to it and chased him away. The male climbed into his house above a tree in the woods and offered his fruits to his female. I observed that their females appreciated the males who brought more food home, and these males received more sexual benefits. This gave me an answer to why humans learned to walk on two feet as it enabled us to carry more food.
The Ardi lived with other animals with peace, and they did not interfere with other animals. There were birds, monkeys, antelopes that lived in the forest but Ardi being a fruit and plant eater did not have any urge to kill other animals for meat. They were not seen having developed cultural attributes, but they had a sense of using the tools like chimpanzees. They used simple tools like branches and sticks to acquire food from trees, and average stones to use more hard fruits. However, there is no evidence that they learned to hunt or eat the meat of other animals.
In short, the Ardi species of Awash and Gona region was enough developed to understand the need for food and use of tools to acquire food. They were civilized to the limit that they lived in families however they did not have a developed social circle. Observing their environment, we learned that human life initially started from woodlands and then we moved to live in green lands. The research on Ardi bridges the gap in history on when and why we learned to walk on two legs. It provides us insight on how needs change the behavior of humans and how we adapted to live with different lifestyles.
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Maurin, T., Bertran, P., Delagnes, A., & Boisserie, J. R. (2017). Early hominin landscape use in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia: Insights from the taphonomical analysis of Oldowan occurrences in the Shungura Formation (Member F). Journal of human evolution, 111, 33-53.
Squyres, N., & Ruff, C. B. (2015). Body mass estimation from knee breadth, with application to early hominins. American journal of physical anthropology, 158(2), 198-208.