Science: Near-Men & Apes

A missing link got demoted at last week's London meeting of the International Congress of Zoology. The chimp-size fossil primate Proconsul africanus, which lived in east Africa 30 million years ago, had been described as sitting in the family tree of both ape and man. Its skull, though primitive, is not conclusively apelike, so there seemed to be a good possibility that its descendants could be humans or apes or both.

The recently found bones of Proconsul's forearm and hand spoiled this theory. According to Anatomists John Napier and Peter Davis of the University of London, they clearly belonged to a brachiator,...

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