back in the news because the spine has been imaged at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, a technique can easily distinguish fossil bone from the surrounding sandstone matrix. The results show that while Selam shared many characteristics with chimpanzees, her spine already had some of the changes that humans evolved to walk upright. Specifically, she had 12 rib-bearing verterbrae rather than the 13 of apes.
almost perfect intermediary between chimpanzees and Homo erectus, which is an almost perfect intermediary between A. afarensis and us.
A. afarensis had both ape and human characteristics: members of this species had apelike face proportions (a flat nose, a strongly projecting lower jaw) and braincase (with a small brain, usually less than 500 cubic centimeters -- about 1/3 the size of a modern human brain), and long, strong arms with curved fingers adapted for climbing trees. They also had small canine teeth like all other early humans, and a body that stood on two legs and regularly walked upright.