Sunday, December 02, 2007

How our ancestors were like gorillas

That's the title of an interesting piece in ScienceDaily

As most people probably know, chimpanzees are our closest living relative (and we are the chimpanzees' closest living relative), yet it seems like some of our distinct relatives shared traits with gorillas.

New research shows that some of our closest extinct relatives had more in common with gorillas than previously thought. Dr Charles Lockwood, UCL Department of Anthropology and lead author of the study, said: "When we examined fossils from 1.5 to 2 million years ago we found that in one of our close relatives the males continued to grow well into adulthood, just as they do in gorillas. This resulted in a much bigger size difference between males and females than we see today.

This doesn't mean that they were closer related to gorillas than previously thought, it just mean that they were more alike to gorillas than previously thought.

The research was published in Science, and is unfortunately behind a pay wall.

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