Monday, 22 April 2013

Darwinian Storytelling: Human Ancestor Came Down From the Trees, Then Went Back Again

Australopithecus sediba. Image courtesy of Brett Eloff, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Darwinian storytelling is intriguing. The recent story about Australopithecus sediba is both fascinating and absurd. New Scientist, for instant, decided to us this title for its story on this discovery, originally made in 2008: Our closest ape-like ancestor went back to the trees.

The hero of the story, published recently in the journal Science, has given rise to a lot of discussion in the Darwinian community, as they see some human-like features in Au. Sediba and then other features that tell a very different story.

According to New Scientist, Au. Sediba’s arms and legs show it was far more comfortable swinging in the trees than most australopiths.”

The solution: this human ancestor came down from the trees and then went back again. Interesting? Yes. Credible? Definitely not, but Darwinian just so stories seldom are.


Barras, Colin. 2013. Our closest ape-like ancestor went back to the trees. New (11 April).