Human Evolution and the Chimpanzee Referential Doctrine

Posted: 8 Oct 2012

See all articles by Ken Sayers

Ken Sayers

Georgia State University

Mary Ann Raghanti

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus

C. Owen Lovejoy

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

Chimpanzees are our closest living genomic relatives, but they lack the bipedal locomotion, markedly enlarged brains, and advanced communication skills of humans. This has led many to view them as “primitive” and to presume that their behavior and anatomy are also primitive. If true, they could serve as models of our last common ancestor (LCA), i.e., a territorially aggressive knuckle walker, reliant on vertical climbing and below-branch suspension to access the high canopy as a ripe-fruit frugivore. Ardipithecus now provides abundant information that the LCA differed substantially from chimpanzees (as well as bonobos and gorillas), both anatomically and behaviorally, and exhibited many characters that are more similar to those of modern humans than to any living ape. This major extension of the hominoid fossil record contravenes strict referential modeling based on the extant chimpanzee and greatly improves our ability to reconstruct the LCA more accurately, but only when viewed within the broader context of evolutionary ecology.

Suggested Citation

Sayers, Ken and Raghanti, Mary Ann and Lovejoy, C. Owen, Human Evolution and the Chimpanzee Referential Doctrine (October 2012). Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 41, pp. 119-138, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2158266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-092611-145815

Ken Sayers (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Mary Ann Raghanti

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus ( email )

School of Politics and International Relations
Rutherford College
Canterbury, CT2 7NX

C. Owen Lovejoy

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus ( email )

School of Politics and International Relations
Rutherford College
Canterbury, CT2 7NX

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