A research was conducted which revealed that Australopithecus afarensis, which is a hominid species that lived between 3.85 and 2.95 million years ago, from Ethiopia possesses several ape-like characteristics that could have helped in foot grasping for climbing trees. Earlier it was believed that Australopithecus afarensis used its two legs for walking. With this latest research this belief has come to a standstill. This research has helped researchers to find out that exactly how walking was like for a 2.5-year-old, more than 3 million years ago. The researchers conducted a study on the DIK-1-1f, which is part of a nearly complete 3.32-million-year-old skeleton of a young female Australopithecus afarensis. It was discovered in 2002 in the village of Hadar in the Dikika region of Ethiopia by University of Chicago’s Professor Zeresenay Alemseged. They analysed that how life would have been for a toddler then. They studied the various uses of the foot and its contribution towards human evolution. The records reveal that these ancestors were quite efficient at walking on two legs. They inferred that the 2.5 years old child was walking on two legs but at the same time it was spending ample of time climbing up high in the trees. They found that the infant had those structures that were necessary to walk on two legs but at the same time it possessed a convexity of the medial cuneiform — a bone important for joint movement, such as the one crucial for climbing. Also, another aspect that the researchers believed in was that if one was living in Africa 3 million years ago without fire, structures and means of defence, then one must have had the capability to climb up high in the trees, otherwise survival was almost impossible.
By: Anuja Arora