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Its finders have claimed that Orrorin was a human ancestor adapted to both bipedality and tree climbing, and that the australopithecines are an extinct offshoot.Given the fragmentary nature of the remains, other scientists have been skeptical of these claims so far (Aiello and Collard 2001). 2004) has found further evidence of bipedality in the fossil femur.Some apes occurring within that time period, such as Ramapithecus, used to be considered as hominids, and possible ancestors of humans.Later fossil finds indicated that Ramapithecus was more closely related to the orang-utan, and new biochemical evidence indicated that the last common ancestor of hominids and apes occurred between 5 and 10 million years ago, and probably in the lower end of that range (Lewin 1987).It is the intersection of the disciplines of paleontology (the study of ancient lifeforms) and anthropology (the study of humans).The species here are listed roughly in order of appearance in the fossil record (note that this ordering is not meant to represent an evolutionary sequence), except that the robust australopithecines are kept together. Australopithecus, Homo) which is always capitalized, and a specific name (e.g. Within the text, genus names are often omitted for brevity.

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The teeth and jaws are very similar to those of older fossil apes.

Each species has a type specimen which was used to define it.

This species was named in July 2002 from fossils discovered in Chad in Central Africa (Brunet et al. It is the oldest known hominid or near-hominid species, dated at between 6 and 7 million years old.

A partial tibia (the larger of the two lower leg bones) is strong evidence of bipedality, and a lower humerus (the upper arm bone) is extremely humanlike.

Note that although the skull and skeletal bones are thought to be from the same species, this is not confirmed. afarensis existed between 3.9 and 3.0 million years ago. The skull is similar to that of a chimpanzee, except for the more humanlike teeth.