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Early hominids may have behaved more 'human' than we had thought

COLUMBUS, Ohio Our earliest ancestors probably behaved in a much more "human" way than most scientists have previously thought, according to a recent study that looked at early hominid fossils from Ethiopia

Previously skeptical, an Ohio State University anthropologist now supports the idea that the minimal size differences between male and female pre-hominids suggest that they lived in a more cooperative and less competitive society.

The evidence centers on the extent of sexual dimorphism differences in size based on sex -- that existed among these early primates and what it suggests about the social structure of these creatures.

In a paper published in the August 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Kent State University reported that remains of both male and female specimens of Australopithecus afarensis showed fewer differences based on size than most paleontologists had earlier expected.

After comparing these bones with the near-complete skeletons of the fossil "Lucy," the researchers argue that the social structure of our earliest ancestors compared more to that of modern humans and chimpanzees than it does to gorillas and orangutans, as had
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Contact: Clark Spencer Larsen
Larsen.53@osu.edu
614-292-4117
Ohio State University
6-Aug-2003


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