Our ancestors really did live like Tarzan! New findings suggest our ancient ancestors really swung from tree to tree. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, resolved a debate over our ancestors’ ability for brachiation (the ability to swing from tree limbs only using one's arms). The research pointed out the possibility that great apes, the last common ancestor of hominids, climbed and swung in trees:
"Our findings support the view that humans and chimpanzees evolved from an ancestor that had similarities to modern apes in their locomotor adaptation," lead author Thomas C. Prang, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, tells Inverse.
esearchers used a sample of 400-plus specimens, encompassing both living primates and ancient hominoid fossils.
First, researchers analyzed the ancient hand bones of Ardipithecus ramidus, which believers of the disputed hypothesis use to support their idea regarding a quadrupedal last common ancestor. Ardipithecus ramidus is a human ancestor that lived nearly 4.4 million years ago. Our understanding of it is predominantly linked to a partial skeleton found in 2009, nicknamed 'Ardi.'
The initial interpretation of this hand suggested the last common ancestors of humans and chimpanzees used a form of locomotion called "above-branch clambering," Prang explains.
Image via Inverse