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Aerial Acrobatics in Early Apes

Just bigger than a pencil eraser, tiny wrist bones belonging to a group of apes that lived some 20 million years ago suggest they used some pretty modern moves to get around in the trees. That’s the conclusion of a study analyzing the handful of such fossils that have been unearthed in Kenya over the years. Judging from the bones’ shapes, these animals didn’t just clamber along the tops of branches, but may have also adopted other ways of moving, such as climbing or swinging -- behaviors that weren’t thought to have become common among apes until millions of years later, says Duke postdoc Craig Wuthrich.