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New Fossil Reveals About Ancient Human Relative

An ancient human relative was able to walk the ground on two legs and use their upper limbs to climb and swing like apes, according to a new study of 2 million-year-old vertebrae Fossil. The scientists from New York University, the University of the Witwatersrand and 15 other institutions studied lower back bones found in 2015 that belonged to a female Australopithecus sediba, a type of ancient hominid.

They discovered bones from the same individual — nicknamed “Issa,” which is Swahili for protector — the Fossil remains form one of the most complete lower backs ever discovered in the early hominid record and give an indication as to how this human relative would have moved through the world. The Fossil were first discovered in 2015 during excavations of a mining trackway running next to the site of Malapa in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, near Johannesburg.

They were then virtually prepared — to avoid the risk of damage — and reunited with Fossil recovered during earlier work at the site and found to articulate with the spine of the Fossil skeleton, part of the original specimens of Australopithecus sediba first described in 2010. The discovery also established that like humans, sediba had only five lumbar vertebrae.

The study concluded that Australopithecus sediba was a transitional form of ancient human relative and its spine is clearly intermediate in shape between those of modern humans and great apes — meaning that the species would have possessed both human and ape-like traits in its movements.

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