An artist's rendering of "Ardi."

Man didn’t descend from apes.

What is closer to the truth is that our knuckle-dragging cousins descended from us.

That’s one of the shocking new theories being drawn from a series of anthropology papers published Friday in a special edition of the journal Science.

Scientists say a 4.4-million-year-old fossil called Ardi — short for ardipithecus ramidus — is descended from the “missing link,” or the last common ancestor between humans and apes.

The four-foot, 110-pound female’s skeleton and physiological characteristics bear a closer resemblance to modern-day humans than to contemporary apes, meaning they evolved from humanlike creatures — not the other way around.

The partial skeleton “is probably the most important find we have had yet,” says Owen Lovejoy, one of the primary authors on the journal package.

“It’s transformative. This is a lot closer to anything that you’d call the missing link than anything that’s ever been found,” says Lovejoy, a biological anthropologist at Ohio’s Kent State University.

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