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Little foot, the controversial and almost-complete skeleton of an ancient human ancestor, walked more like a chimp than a human.
Scientists made the discovery after completing detailed scans of her inner ear.
Analysis - Foot - Years - Species - Anything
Previous analysis has found the four-foot tall Little Foot lived 3.67 million years ago and was an entirely different species than anything we have ever seen before.
They have also discovered she is an elderly female with a crippled left arm, legs longer than her arms and had an exclusively plant-based diet.
Analysis - Skull - Scientists - Computer - Model
Analysis of her skull allowed scientists to build a complex 3D computer model of her inner ear.
This region contains several small bones and organs which are involved in balance and locomotion.
Researchers - University - Witwatersrand - Labyrinth - Species
Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand found this 'bony labyrinth' is 'substantially different' from other early species of human.
This paper adds to a growing body of research which says that Lucy walked on two feet but also spent considerable time in trees.
Scans - Cranium - Hominin - Specimens - Humans
Scans of her cranium were compared to 17 early hominin specimens which included 10 extant humans and 10 chimpanzees.
Scientists found Little Foot's canals were distinctly 'ape-like' and bore a striking resemblance to those of chimpanzees.
Analysis - Ear - Hypothesis - Foot - Australopithecus
'Our analysis of the inner ear might be compatible with the hypothesis that Little Foot and the Australopithecus specimens in general were walking on two legs on the ground but also spent some times in the trees,' says Dr Amélie Beaudet who published the research alongside Professor Ronald Clarke in the Journal of Human Evolution.
The cochlea, an organ deep within the inner ear...
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