Human ancestors originated in Europe – not Africa?
Humans and chimpanzees separated from their last common ancestor hundreds of thousands of years earlier than previously thought – and it happened in Europe, not Africa – according to an international team of scientists.
David Begun, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Toronto School of Arts and Sciences, is co-author of one of two controversial studies reported today on human pre-remnants in PLoS ONE.
“Our discovery describes a new setting for the beginning of human history: the results allow us to move human chimpanzees in the Mediterranean area,” he said. “These research findings question one of the most dogmatic claims of paleoanthropology since Charles Darwin, that is, that the human lineage originated in Africa.
“It is essential to know where the human lineage has appeared so that we can reconstruct the circumstances that lead to our divergence from the common ancestor we share with the chimpanzees. Have a crime without the crime scene. ”
The researchers analyzed two fossil samples known as graecopithecus freybergi using processes at the forefront of technology – a lower jaw from Greece and upper premolar Bulgaria – and came to the conclusion that they belong to pre-humains. In addition, it is graecopithecus hundreds of years older than the earliest pre-human potential of Africa, Sahelanthropus six to seven million years Chad.
Using computed tomography, we visualized the internal structures of graecopithecus fossils and showed that the roots of the premolars were greatly fused. The lower jaw, nicknamed El Greco by scientists, are other characteristics of roots of the teeth, suggesting that the species graecopithecus freybergi could belong to the pre-human lineage.
“While apes generally have two or three different and divergent roots, graecopithecus roots converge and partially merge – a feature that characterizes modern humans, early humans and several pre-humans, including Ardipithecus and Australopithecus,” said Madelaine Böhme of the Senckenberg Center for Human and Paleo-Environmental Evolution at the University of Tübingen, who led the research with Nikolai Spassov of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The research team, which also included scientists from Greece, France and Australia, dated sedimentary sequence sites of fossil graecopithecus, Greece and Bulgaria with physical methods and had an almost synchronous age for two fossils – 7.24 and 7.175 billion years Before the present.
“This is the beginning of the era of Messina that ends with the complete desiccation of the Mediterranean,” Böhme said.
Current chimpanzees are the living relatives closest to humans. When the last common chimpanzee-human ancestor lived, however, it is a central problem and much debated in paleoanthropology.
So far researchers have assumed that lines diverge 5-7 million years ago and the earliest pre-humans have developed in East Africa. According to the theory of the French paleoanthropologist Yves Coppens 1994, climate change in the region could play a crucial role.
As in many animals, the pre-human evolution was motivated by dramatic environmental changes.
The team led by Böhme showed that the Sahara desert of North Africa was born more than seven million years ago. They came to the conclusion of this on the basis of geological analyzes of sediments in which the two graecopithecus fossils were found.
Although geographically distant from the Sahara, red slime is very fine and can be classified as desert dust. An analysis of uranium, thorium and lead isotopes in individual dust particles gives an age between 0.6 and 3 billion years and infers an origin in North Africa.