Origin Stories Season Two | Episode One | Ancestor
Just recently, the news media announced the discovery of a fossil ape called Alesi. This remarkable fossil was found in Kenya, and it’s from a time period where there’s a big blank spot in the fossil record of our family tree. This 13 million-year-old fossil tells us something new about the very early evolution of apes and even shows what the common ancestor of us and all the other living apes might have looked like. This episode tells the story behind the discovery.
3D animation of the Alesi skull computed from the ESRF microtomographic data. It shows first the skull in solid 3D rendering, then transparent surface rendering is used to show the endocast shape (light blue), the internal ears (green), and the permanent teeth germs (grey and brown). © Paul Tafforeau / ESRF
New 13 million-year-old infant skull sheds light on ape ancestry
Questions and answers about Alesi
New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution. Nengo, I., Tafforeau, P., Gilbert, C.C., Fleagle, J.G.., Miller, E.R., Feibel, C., Fox, D., Feinberg, J., Pugh, K.D., Berruyer, C., Mana, S., Engle, Z. and Spoor, F. Nature 10 August 2017. doi:10.1038/nature23456.
Editor Julia Barton
Series Producer Meredith Johnson
Associate Producer Shuka Kalantari
Sound Design Katie McMurran
Theme Music Henry Nagle
Intern Yuka Oiwa
Additional Music Lee Rosevere