Human Lineage May Have Originated in Europe, not Africa

Scientists have long believed that the first human beings split from their pre-human ancestors in Africa. But new research out of the University of Toronto suggests that the earliest human/chimp ancestor arose in the Mediterranean instead.

The discovery that prompted this change in theory were a jawbone and some teeth that were found in Athens and Bulgaria, respectively. These fossilized specimens are from a creature called the Graecopithecus freybergi that lived 7.2 million years ago. Researchers believe this may be the oldest human species that evolved after the split from our human/chimpanzee ancestors.

The jawbone was found in 1944, and the teeth were discovered in 2009. But they were just recently re-studied using newer techniques, such as CT scans and computer tomography. Scientists also dated the rock that both sets of fossils were found in.

3-D models of the fossils determined that the teeth of the Graecopithecus freybergi had fused roots. While this does not sound like an exciting finding, it is significant because great apes’ tooth roots are fused. So, the fossil’s teeth are more characteristic of human and pre-human teeth than the teeth of apes.

These fossils are also at least 7.2 million years old, which is more ancient than the oldest-known pre-humans that arose in Africa. The oldest African pre-human species is the Sahelantropus, which only lived between 6 and 7 million years ago in the country now known as Chad.

Scientists still agree that Homo sapiens, or the modern human species, first evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago. These new findings do not change that general consensus. It does alter that the long-held belief that the evolution of the human species occurred entirely within the African continent.

Many current African animals actually originated in Europe and Asia and only later made their way to Africa. It is possible that Graecopithecus freybergi did so, too. The environmental changes that were occurring in the Mediterranean region 7 million+ years ago may have assisted the evolution of these early pre-humans. It may have been the spread of grasslands across southern Europe at the time that played a role in the split of the human and chimpanzee species. This would have occurred while deserts spread across northern Africa.

Next Article
  • The Algae Expert Who Helped Win World War II

    One would have thought that the Ministry Of Defense would have known the difference between a cryptogamist and a cryptogramist. Back in World War II, they showed us that they definitely did not, which is why they accidentally recruited scientist Geoffrey Tandy to work at Bletchley Park for the Code Breakers. ...

    Read More
  • Saving A Whole Village With Rainbow Art

    Everyone loves a rainbow, the beautiful colors and different hues always make you smile. And that is what one Taiwanese pensioner thought when he made a desperate attempt to save his village. Armed with only a paintbrush, 93-year old Huang Yung-Fu turned his town into a vibrant rainbow and in the process saved it from...

    Read More
  • Evidence Of A Destroyed Planet Found

    Billions of years ago it seems our solar system actually had another planet spinning around in it. This long destroyed planet would have existed only during the very start of our solar systems creation. In 2008, an asteroid exploded into the Sudan desert on October 7th and with it came...

    Read More
  • Huge Poop Train Stuck Outside Small Alabama Town

    In a strange situation that is just asking to be explained, sources have revealed a huge train filled with human excrement is stranded outside a small town in Alabama. Apparently, the poop train is wafting smelly fumes for miles and locals are beginning to wonder whenever this nightmare may end. ...

    Read More
  • French Strongman Who Broke Out Of Prison With His Bare Hands

    There is one French strongman that goes down in the books as having undeniable strength and determination: his name is Charles Rigoulet. Not only was he breaking numerous weightlifting records all over the world, he won a gold medal in the 1942 Summer Olympics. And if that was not enough? He was also an actor,...

    Read More
  • Medieval Norwegians Liked To Cheat At Dice

    Recently a specially designed dice was found in Norway: it did not have a number one or a number two. Looks like a fixed dice to do some cheating in gambling, but the real stunner was that this wooden dice was 600 years old! A specially designed dice for cheating...

    Read More
  • Extraordinary Photo Of A Humpback Whale Sneezing A Rainbow

    At the end of every rainbow, you will find a pot of gold… or was it a humpback whale? The following photo hit the internet last week from the California wildlife photographer who had the instinct to take his shot at the exact moment. So we now know that there is at least one rainbow...

    Read More