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Monkeying with Proconsul's hip.

Monkeying with Proconsul's hip

In 1985, fossil hunters working near Kenya's Lake Victoria uncovered a nearly complete left hip bone belonging to Proconsul, a "formative ape" that lived between about 22 million and 14 million years ago (SN: 1/12/85, p.26). Analysis of the rare remnant of Proconsul's pelvic anatomy now indicates it resembles the hip bones of living monkeys more than those of living apes, reports Carol V. Ward of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Ward compared the Proconsul hip bone to 275 hip bones from modern monkeys and apes. Monkeys possess a flexible torso, long lower spine and short, narrow pelvis adapted for moving through the trees. Apes have a stiffened torso, relatively short spine and long, broader pelvis to support the back while climbing and ease weight pressure on the lower body.

The Proconsul specimen generally looks monkey-like, sharing many features with the hip bones of baboons, Ward says. Small dimensions near the pubic opening suggest the Proconsul bone comes from a male, she adds.
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Title Annotation:fossil ape
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 15, 1990
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