PacSci-Doku: "Ancient Ancestor" Answer

By Dennis Schatz - Senior Vice President for Strategic Programs

The question in this edition is:

A 55 million-year-old fossil may be our earliest ancestor because of what part of its body?

The answer: ANKLE bone

Scroll down to see the solution.

Only 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs – a mere eye blink in geologic time – a small, tree-dwelling animal with the small eyes of an animal active during the day and the sharp teeth of an insect eater lived in eastern China. It had the ankle bone and flexible foot capable of grasping branches like today's primates. Named Archicebus acchilles, it may prove that our earliest ancestors came from Asia. If this is true, then about 40 million years ago our primate ancestors moved from Asia to Africa, where they evolved to the apes and to the early humans that ultimately evolved to the modern humans (Homo sapiens) that now populate the Earth. Learn more about Archicebus acchilles. To better understand the characteristics of modern humans, be sure to visit RACE: Are We So Different?

Here is the solution:


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