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Humans and chimpanzees are related and thus have a most recent common ancestor. Of course pinning down this precise point is essentially impossible, so I'm interested in close ancestors of this most recent common ancestor. Also, I'd like to know things about it -- how it compares to common chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans in various ways -- so species known only from fragmentary evidence are less interesting to me. Ideally I'd ask for something with at least one near-complete skeleton and a separate (perhaps less complete) find, but as a non-expert I'd be happy to settle for whatever is considered to be well-attested.

So, what is the most recent well-attested common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans?

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Two reasonably close relatives of the most recent chimpanzee-human ancestor (CHA) are Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Orrorin tugenensis, but both are poorly attested.

One better candidate is Ardipithecus ramidus, which has a fairly-complete skeleton ("Ardi") among other fossils. It's a bit young (4.4 Ma), perhaps, to be a CHA but should be a close relative.

Another reasonable candidate is Oreopithecus bambolii. It is very well-attested. The trouble is that no one seems to know how it's related to humans; 'best guess' is that it's not actually an ancestor but a sister taxon.

(I'm not an evolutionary biologist, nor even a scientist, but I thought I'd leave what information I collected here as there is no better answer at this time.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. I know absolutely nothing about CHA! Can you please include your references. There is no problem if you collected these informations in none peer-reviewed articles, but still it would be good to show your references. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 4 '14 at 19:27

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