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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 feedback@sciencenews.org. 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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