Re: A. Ramidus

Fri, 11 Aug 1995 11:20:07 CDT

In off-top-of-the-head response to R. Scupin's query about yet another
hominid paleospecies, *A. ramidus*: it was originally reported, I
believe, by Tim White last year in *Nature*; I don't have the exact
reference at hand. So it is indeed too recent to be in the
textbooks--except for my own, which is about to go into production by
Harcourt Brace, for release in '96 I believe. This "species" is
represented only very fragmentarily. What is mainly remarkable is its
dating to over 4 mya. While it may represent Lucy's ancestors, it seems
to me quite unwise to have given it a name meaning "root"; the hominid d
divergence, after all, may well have occurred at least 8 mya--a date for
which Yves Coppens has argued very elegantly in terms of the origin of
the Rift Valley and savanna environments to the east, from where all the
early hominid, but none of the early ape, fossils have come. Making
much fuss over this fossil, and White's interpretation, seems
ill-advised, especially in an introductory text. --Bob Graber