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Anthropologist D. Carl Johanson made a groundbreaking discovery in Ethiopia, unearthing a skull fragment, shin and thigh bones of a 3-million-year-old man. The bones belonged to an ape man (hominid) of the genus Australopithecus. At a news conference, the 30-year-old scientist stated, “We have absolute, concrete evidence that our ancestors walked on two legs over 3 million years ago.”

Fossil analyses suggest that several hominid species ambled around on two legs about 5 million to 7 million years ago. However, not all paleoanthropologists are convinced those features prove a two-legged gait. Some scientists think the bone belonged to an ape that may have walked upright at times.

Questions or comments on this article can be directed to Previously the staff writer for physical sciences at Science News, Maria Temming is the assistant editor at Science News Explores. She has bachelor’s degrees in physics and English, and a master’s in science writing. This article was supported by readers like you. Invest in quality science journalism by donating today.

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