Seventeen years of work by Yohannes Haile-Selassie and 46 other researchers may overturn what we know about where man came from.
The discoveries began in 1994 when Haile-Selassie discovered two digits of the finger of 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus in the Middle Awash Plain. Other related discoveries of the spieces Ardipiticus ramidus remains began two years earlier in 1992.
Over 17 years, team of scientists continued to excavate, analyse and piece together portions of the small woman, according to Haile-Selassie, who is now the curator and director of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Haile-Selassie discussed the work with Alula Kebede of VOA Amharic and Betregiorgis Siltan, VOA Tigrigna.
"The discovery represents a complete rewrite of what is known about human evolution, and gives new insight into how we became able to walk in our two legs," he told Alula. The Ardi findings disprove the previous notion that suggests that chimpanzees are good models for the common ancester they share with humans. It inspired new thinking about our knowledge of human evolution and future researches in the field.
The team of 47 scientists was led by Tim White, University of California, Berkeley, professor of integrative biology and co-director of the Middle Awash Project. (Click on the links on the side to listen to the three parts interview with Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie).