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Creation Science Fiction™

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New Hominin Species? "Little Foot" Is More Like Humans Than Some Other Australopithecines



Move over Lucy, Little Foot is an older and more complete specimen and may just be a new transitional species all together!  After years of painstaking fossil preparation, the 90% complete skeleton of another likely human ancestor is now on display and papers are being published.  The Scientific Journal Nature reports "‘Little Foot’ hominin emerges from stone after millions of years."  

"The first of a raft of papers about ‘Little Foot’ suggests that the fossil is a female who showed some of the earliest signs of human-like bipedal walking around 3.67 million years ago. She may also belong to a distinct species that most researchers haven’t previously recognized."

Seriously though, this in no way diminishes the importance of Lucy and does not replace or remove Lucy from our list of transitional species in the fossil record.  What we continue to find is there was much variation and even many hominin species alive at any one time in our evolutionary history. This is the only hominin we have found over 3 million years old with longer legs than arms though and that makes it a very important discovery. Some creationists like Dr. Charles Jackson have tried to say we have a problem with showing how and when that happened, but Little Foot certainly fills that gap. 

"The paper covering limbs and locomotion3 reveals that Little Foot’s legs are longer than her arms, similar to modern humans, making her the oldest hominin for which we can be sure of that feature, says Crompton. This means that Little Foot was better adapted to walking upright on the ground than many other australopiths, at least some of which seem to have spent more time moving through trees."

One of the two papers published makes the case for including Little Foot in the species Australopithecus prometheus, but not all paleoanthropologists agree. Lee Berger is also planning on publishing about Little Foot and once all the data is recorded and published, he may suggest a new species name.

"Lee Berger, an archaeologist also at Wits University who was not involved in the excavations, but is working on publications about Little Foot, disagrees with the decision to resurrect A. prometheus. In a paper that is scheduled to be published on 10 December in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Berger argues that the name A. prometheus was never properly defined.

He hasn’t yet decided whether Little Foot constitutes a distinct species — but if she does, Berger thinks a new name is needed."

It will be an interesting debate to watch unfold as more data becomes available, and hopefully many will now focus their effort on searching strata of a similar age to see if more fossils like Little Foot will be found. 

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