Did the First Human Ancestor Emerge in Europe, Not Africa?Breaking News
tags: archaeology, human evolution
New analysis of two fossil specimens found in Greece and Bulgaria has led a team of international scientists to a stunning conclusion: The fossilized lower jawbone and teeth, which date back some 7.2 million years, belonged not to an ape but to a hominin, or early human ancestor. If correct, their hypothesis would rewrite the currently accepted story of human evolution, which holds that the split between humans and chimpanzees took place around 7 million years ago in eastern Africa.
According to the generally accepted story of human evolution, the human lineage split from that of apes some 7 million years ago in Africa. Hominins (early humans) are believed to have stayed put in Africa until about 2 million years ago, when they migrated first to Asia and then to Europe.
Now, a team of scientists from the University of Tubingen in Germany and the University of Toronto in Canada are seeking to revise that story. In two complementary studies published in the journal PLOS One, they argue that the earliest human ancestor emerged in Europe, not Africa, around 7.2 million years ago, or 200,000 years earlier than was previously thought.
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