Our earliest hominid ancestors may have been EuropeanJune 2nd, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by ANI
London, June 2 (ANI): Scientists have found a 12-million-year-old fossil hominid in Spain, which suggests that millions of years before early humans evolved in Africa, their ancestors may have lived in Europe.
According to a report in New Scientist, the fossil, named Anoiapithecus brevirostris by Salvador Moya-Sola of the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology in Barcelona, Spain, and his colleagues, dates from a period of human evolution for which the record is very thin.
While only the animal’s face, jaw and teeth survive, their shape places it within the African hominid lineage that gave rise to gorillas, chimps and humans.
However, it also has features of a related group called kenyapithecins.
Moya-Sola said that A. brevirostris and some similar-looking kenyapithecins lived in Europe shortly after the afrohominid and kenyapithecin lineages split, and so that the divergence itself may have happened there.
If he is right, our hominid ancestors lived in Europe and only later migrated to Africa, where modern humans evolved.
This “into Africa” scenario is likely to be controversial.
Critics argue that discoveries like Moya-Sola’s are more likely to reflect the quality of the fossil records in Africa and Europe than offer clues to the actual origins of hominids.
Jay Kelley, a palaeobiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, points out that the fossil record from the time in question is much better in Europe than in Africa.
“If you’ve got a record on one continent but not the other, naturally you’re going to see origins of the group from the continent where you’ve got the record,” he said. (ANI)
- Ancient ape with human face may prove to be "missing link" species - Jun 11, 2009
- Extinct rabbit 'didn't hop and had no enemies due to hefty size' - Mar 22, 2011
- Thriving rodent population in prehistoric Africa could shed light on human evolution - Dec 22, 2010
- African hominid fed on unique hard diet - Jul 01, 2012
- Human ancestors 'colonized' Africa 39 mn yrs ago - Oct 28, 2010
- Ancient hominids developed humanlike grip much before toolmaking practice - Apr 20, 2010
- Scientists report discovery of new genus of hominoid primate - Jun 03, 2009
- Europe's biggest dinosaur skull found in Spain - Apr 04, 2012
- 'New' 11 Million Year Old Primate Discovered - Apr 22, 2010
- Neanderthal, Homo sapiens split 500,000yrs older than believed - Jun 24, 2010
- Research suggests humans evolved from prehistoric sharks - Jun 14, 2012
- Discovery of "Ardi" named breakthrough of the year - Dec 18, 2009
- Dinosaur-bird 'missing link' could be egg - Jul 13, 2012
- Humans switched from living in trees to on the ground 4.2mn yrs ago - Jan 29, 2011
- World's oldest known human ancestor was 'threatened by sabre tooth cats' - Jan 04, 2011
Tags: barcelona spain, catalan, chimps, continent, discoveries, divergence, early humans, fossil hominid, fossil record, fossil records, gorillas, hominid ancestors, human evolution, lineage, lineages, moya, new scientist, palaeontology, time in question, university of illinois at chicago