Europe was the birthplace of humans

Europe was the birthplace of man?

A new study of two 7.2 million-year-old fossils from southern Europe suggests that the human and ape lineages diverged several hundred thousand years earlier than previously thought. And it probably didn’t happen in Africa.

Thanks to DNA sequencing, we know that humans and chimpanzees evolved from coólnego ancestor. However, scientists are in dispute about when and where this occurred. Currently, most expertów believes that our human lineage split from that of apes around seven millionów years ago in central Africa.

However, two fossils of an ape-like creature with mandibles and teeth characteristic of humans have been found in Bulgaria and Greece. Fossils number about 7.2 millionóin years. They belong to an individualów of the species Graecopithecus freybergi also called "El Graeco". According to the scientistsów it provód that our ancestors began evolving in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid.

To such conclusionsóIn came two teams of scientistsów. The Greek fossil was found in 1944 in a suburb of Athens. In 2012, it was joined by remains found in Bulgaria. Researchers from the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, led by Professor Madelaine Böhme and scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences led by Professor Nikolai Spassov conducted the new study using state-of-the-art equipment.

Their analysis has made it possible to question previous findings on human origins. Using microscopic tomography and 3D reconstruction of the roots and internal structure of fossilized teethów scientists have discovered traits characteristic of wspómodern humans and their early ancestorsów. Zaróin the mandible as well as a single premolar tooth found separately.

Researchers suggest that in light of the new study, a place should be found for the "El Graeco" in the evolutionary branch of human. Previously, the species was classified as hominids – is a broad group that includes not only humans, but also chimpanzees or gorillas.

– If the species Graecopithecus freybergi is indeed descended from the evolutionary line of humans, it would be the oldest ancestor of wspómodern humans and the first identified outside Africa – said David Biegun of the University of Toronto, who took part in the study. – Our research shows that early humans may have evolved in Europe – added.

After careful study, it was determined that the jawbone is 7.175 million years old, with a single tooth dated to 7.24 million years old. At the time, the Mediterranean basinóThe wildlife looked more like the African savannah.

– This is indeed quite a controversial thesis, and I expect that there will be a sharp reaction from the scientific community – said Darren Curnoe, a paleoanthropologist at the University of New South Wales, who was not associated with the study. He also admitted that the researchers drew their conclusions based only on the mandible and tooth, and that this is not enough to derive aócial to góry feet the prevailing theories. To confirm that "El Graeco" belonged to the human lineage additional features should be examined, not only the teeth.

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