Fossils unearthed in southern Germany of a remarkable ape that lived about 11.6 million years ago may dramatically alter the understanding of the evolutionary origins of a fundamental human trait – walking upright on two legs.

Scientists on Wednesday said that the ape, called Danuvius guggenmosi, combined attributes of humans – straight lower limbs adapted for bipedalism – with those of apes – long arms able to stretch out to grasp tree branches. That indicates Danuvius was able to walk upright on two legs and also use all four limbs while clambering through trees.

It is the oldest-known example of upright walking in apes.

The discovery suggests that bipedalism originated in a common ancestor of humans and the great apes – a group that includes chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans – that inhabited Europe rather than an ancestor from Africa, the continent where our species Homo sapiens first appeared roughly 300,000 years ago, the researchers said.Read More..