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"Ardi" Research Findings Named Science Breakthrough of the Year

Posted Dec, 17, 2009
Ardipithecus ramidus, a possible human ancestor, inhabited then-wooded regions of Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago.
Ardipithecus ramidus, a possible human ancestor, inhabited then-wooded regions of Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago. This year, studies of the fossilized skeleton of a member of the species raised surprising questions about how key human traits evolved. See the Breakthrough of the Year special section beginning on page 1598. © 2009, Jay Matternes

Ardipithecus ramidus, or “Ardi,” receives the top honor as the Breakthrough of the Year, named by Science and its publisher, AAAS, the world’s largest science society. The Dec. 18 issue of Science ( takes a look back at the big science stories over the past 12 months and presents its selections for the 10 major scientific breakthroughs of 2009. “Ardi,” a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago, was unveiled on Oct. 1 by Kent State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy and his colleagues. Their research findings on “Ardi” change the way we think of human evolution.

An internationally recognized biological anthropologist who specializes in the study of human origins, Lovejoy was a part of an international research team that has spent that last several years studying “Ardi.” Primarily, Lovejoy served as post-cranial anatomist and behavioral theorist. Research findings on “Ardi” were presented in 11 papers that appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of Science. Lovejoy was first author on five papers and contributed to an additional three.

“I, of course, think it’s a great honor and entirely typical of all aspects of work going on at Kent State, especially in our growing number of flagship departments and schools,” Lovejoy said regarding being a part of Science’s 2009 Breakthrough of the Year.

A resident of Kent, Ohio, Lovejoy has taught at Kent State for 40 years. He is a widely published author, with more than 100 articles in prestigious publications. He also holds the honor of being one of the Institute for Scientific Information’s “Most Highly Cited” authors in social sciences. In 2007, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States.

For more information on the "Ardi" research findings, visit
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