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BU Anthropologist Studying Oldest Ear Bones Every Found

A local link to our earliest ancestors. A Binghamton University anthropologist is leading a study on the oldest ear bones ever found.

The 2-million-year-old ear bones are from two species of early human ancestors in South Africa. The bones show a mix of ape and human like features.

Professor Rolf Quam says the human-like configuration implies that our hearing evolved very early.

"Our hypothesis is that these changes in the ear bones might be something that occurs as early as bipedalism.  It might be another hallmark of humanity in the skeleton," said Quam.

Qualm says the next step in the study will be reconstructing the hearing in these early human ancestors.  It will be the first time an aspect of sensory perception is reconstructed from fossils of our ancestors.

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