She’s only four feet tall and 110 pounds, but little “Ardi” is causing a sensation among paleoanthropologists. Earlier this month, after fifteen years of research, scientists reported that they had identified Ardi’s skeleton as the oldest hominid known to modern humans. Ardipithecus ramidus, as she is formally known, lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. She’s remarkable not just for her age, but for what she tells us about human evolution. Scientists are re-arranging the human family tree in light of this new research.
Up until Ardi’s discovery, Lucy was the most famous hominid skeleton, and she is still important to an understanding of human evolution. Catherine Thimmesh tells her story for readers ten and up in her new book, “Lucy Long Ago, Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From.”