Synopsis

Fifteen years after the first fragments of a nearly complete skeleton of Ardipithecus ramiduswere found in Ethiopia's fossil-rich Awash River Valley, an international team of researchers has released an extensive study of this unusual, ancient human relative in the October 2 issue ofScience magazine. Dated to 4.4 million years old, the fossil specimens are painting a remarkable picture of a creature that lived 1.2 million years before the famous early hominid Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis.