© Sabine Riffaut, Guillaume Daver, Franck Guy / Palevoprim / CNRS – Université de Poitiers

7 million years ago, our earliest relatives took their first steps on 2 feet

The oldest known human-like species likely walked on two legs as far back as 7 million years ago, a new study finds, and the discovery sheds light on what first set humans apart from our ape relatives.

Researchers analyzed a thigh bone (femur) and a pair of forearm bones (ulnae) from Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which may be the oldest known hominin — a relative of humans dating from after our ancestors split from those of modern apes — according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (opens in new tab). First unearthed in Chad in north central Africa in 2001, the remains are about 7 million years old.

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