Saturday, August 25, 2007
Ten million-year-old fossils discovered in Ethiopia show that humans and apes probably split six or seven million years earlier than widely thought, according to landmark study released Wednesday.
The handful of teeth from the earliest direct ancestors of modern gorillas ever found -- one canine and eight molars -- also leave virtually no doubt, the study's authors and experts said, that both humans and modern apes did indeed originate from Africa.
The near total absence to date of traces on the continent of apes from this period had led many scientists to conclude that the shared line from which humans and living great apes emerged had taken a long evolutionary detour through Eurasia.
But the study, published in the British journal Nature, "conclusively demonstrates that the Last Common Ancestor (of both man and ape) was strictly an African phenomenon," commented paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio.
Lovejoy described the fossils as "a critically important discovery," a view echoed by several other scientists who had read the paper or seen the artifacts.
"This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the origin of humanity," Yohannes Haile-Selassie, a physical anthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, told AFP.
The most startling implication of the find, the scientists agree, is that our human progenitors diverged from today's great apes -- including gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees -- several million years earlier than widely accepted research based on molecular genetics had previously asserted.
The trail in the hunt for physical evidence of our human ancestors goes cold some six or seven million years ago.
Orrorin -- discovered in Kenya in 2000 and nicknamed "Millennium Man" although its sex remains unknown -- goes back 5.8 to 6.1 million years, while Sahelanthropus, found a year later in Chad, is considered by most experts to extend the human family tree another one million years into the past.
Beyond that, however, fossils of early humans from the Miocene period, 23 to five million years ago, disappear. Fossils of early apes especially during the critical period of 14 to eight million years ago were virtually non-existant -- until now.
"We know nothing about how the human line actually emerged from apes," the authors of the paper noted.
But the new fossils, dubbed "Chororapithecus abyssinicus" by the team of Japanese and Ethiopian paleoanthropologists who found them, place the early ancestors of the modern day gorilla 10 to 10.5 million years in the past, suggesting that the human-ape split occurred before that.
There is broad agreement that chimpanzees were the last of the great apes to split from the evolutionary line leading to man, after gorillas and, even earlier, orangutans.
Conventional scientific wisdom, based on genetic "distances" measured by molecular geneticists, had placed the divergence between chimps and humans some five to six million years ago. Orangutans are thought to have parted company with our ancestors 13 to 14 million years ago.
"If the new discovery is in the gorilla lineage, then this will definitely substantially push back the split time between apes and humans," Halie-Selassie at Kent State told AFP.
The scientists leading the team that found the fossils -- Gen Suwa of the University of Tokyo, and Ethiopian paleontologists Berhane Asfaw and Yonas Beyene -- calculated that the human-orangutan split "could easily have been as old as 20 million years."
They determined that the teeth belonged to gorilla ancestors based on unique shared characteristics of the molars, which had evolved for a diet of fibrous foods such as stems and leaves.
The match is not exact, however, and could prompt some scientists to challenge the findings.
The teeth fragments, found in barren scrubland some 170 kilometres (100 miles) east of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, almost went unnoticed.
Asfaw recalled the chance discovery.
"It was our last day of field survey in February 2006, and our sharp-eyed field assistant, Kampiro, found the first ape tooth, a canine," he said.
"He picked it up and showed it to me, and I knew that this was something new -- Ethiopia's first fossil great ape."
EUROPE'S FINEST TOPLESS HONEYS
"Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any po...
Ava Fiore is a Playboy model and 2002 Golden Gloves champion boxer. She was arrested on Wednesday night on I 80 east in Kimball, Nebraska. P...
Wow Paulina still very perky at 44 ! Read about Paulas interesting childhood escaping the iron curtain THE NILES LESH PROJECT - ALL...
SHE IS A POTENTIAL F D I L F !!! Meghan McCain is a 23-year-old, socially liberal John Kerry voter who loves Superbad, Dita von Teese, Bud L...
Pat Venditte is a minor league pitcher with the Staten Island Yankees. He was selected in the 20th round of the 2008 draft with the 620th ov...
Donald Trump, a co-owner of “Miss USA”, “Miss Universe” and “Miss Teen USA” pageants, has come up with a new reality TV show which will take...
Missed it ? - The Archives !
- ► 2010 (80)
- ► 2009 (319)
- ► 2008 (1240)
- GWEN STEFANI - AWESOME STREET BIKINI SHOTS
- LEONA HELMSLEY'S LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
- LEGGY SUPER MODEL ELLE MACPHERSON
- BRITNEY SPEARS - "TOO SHORT" SHORTY DRESS
- BRITISH COMEDY "THE AGA SAG WOMEN"
- KARL ROVE GETS WRAPPED AT THE WHITEHOUSE
- HIPSTER OLYMPICS "LIVE" FROM WILLIAMSBURG BROOKLYN...
- JAMES BROWN SHOWS YOU HOW TO MOVE ! ! !
- 25 YEARS OF "TOP CELEBRITY SCANDALS" COUNTDOWN
- SEN LARRY CRAIG- "CLINTON IS A NAUGHTY BOY"
- AMY WINEHOUSE - CARIBBEAN BIKINI PICS
- MYTH BUSTERS - "BULL IN A CHINA SHOP" ???
- RON JEREMY - RAPS "FREAK OF THE WEEK"
- LINDSAY LOHAN - SEXY GERMAN ZOO PHOTOS
- COOL TIME LAPSE OF THE QUEEN MARY IN SANFRANCISCO ...
- 25 YEARS OF "TOP CELEBRITY SCANDALS" COUNTDOWN
- ALL BRAN - SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE ???
- RARE BLOOD RED MOON TONIGHT ! ! !
- EVE MENDEZ - STRATEGICALLY NAKED ! ! !
- SPECTACULAR HOT AIR BALLOON CRASH
- MARIAH CAREY - KINDA NUDE IN INTERVIEW MAGAZINE
- THE MICHAEL VICK STORY
- SLUTZ - BARBIE'S NEW COMPETITION ???
- MISS TEEN SOUTH CAROLINA TRIES TO ANSWER A QUESTIO...
- KIM KARDASHIAN IS A "FULL FIGURE" GAL ! ! !
- MARY KATE OLSEN SELLING WEED FOR GOD ?
- PARIS HILTON - SEXY IN GERMAN GQ ! ! !
- NEW SKULL FOSSILS CHALLENGE THE THEORY OF MAN'S OR...
- LIVE YOUR NEXT LIFE BACKWARDS ! ! !
- BROOKE BURKE IS STILL VERY HOT
- SIGGRAPH 2007 - ANIMATION INNOVATION +
- LETTERMAN'S TOP 10 "MICHAEL VICK EXCUSES"
- CAROLINE DAMORE AT THE HILTON'S BEACH PARTY
- LOUIS JOHNSON - HOW TO THUMP THE BASS !
- THE STAND UP ECONOMIST ???
- THE AMAZING FROZEN SMOKE "AEROGEL"
- LUCY LIU - I SEE YOU !
- BRITNEY SPEARS - LOOKING GOOD IN "ALLURE" !
- TV ANCHOR HAS A BOUT OF IN APROPRIATE LAUGHTER
- GENIUS PURE GENIUS - LEGEND OF CNORRIS !
- JENNA JAMESON - BEACH BIKINI AND DOG !
- JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT COULDN'T GET WORSE FOR MI...
- PHIL RIZZUTO, 89 - GONE TO THE GREAT YANKEE IN TH...
- THAILAND'S "BOMB SQUAD" IN ACTION !
- JAPANESE TV - WACKY SHAVING COMMERCIAL
- TRAILER - SPORE (STILL COMING SOON) !
- WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU MISS THE FREEWAY EXIT !
- GET YOUR BOXING GLOVES- IT A RUSSIAN WEDDING !
- KIM KARDASHIAN IN " SUPER BOOTY "
- SUPERBAD R- RATED TRAILER ! ! !
- SUPERMODEL "RUNWAY WIPEOUT" MONTAGE
- GWYNETH PALTROW - THE GODDESS ?
- FHM'S SEXIEST VIDEO OF ALLTIME ( 2007 )
- ALLOW ME TO BREAK THE ICE - FREEZE !
- REDNECK GAMES - END IN ROWDY RUCKUS ! ! !
- MERV GRIFFIN TALK SHOW LEGEND , 82
- FOXNEWS - "ROMNEY GIRLS" vs "OBAMA GIRL"
- RON PAUL - THE REAL DEAL ! ! !
- THE AWESOME MUGSHOT COLLECTION # 1
- NEW SPACE HOTEL OPENING 2012 ???
- UFOs OVER HATI CAUGHT ON VIDEO ! ! !
- A DOG WITH TWO WET NOSES ! ! !
- EVOLUTION - "SOUTH PARK" STYLE ! ! !
- HOLLYWOODS MOST BANKABLE STARS $ $ $
- FOSSIL CASTS DOUBT ON THE ORIGIN OF MAN
- LOUIS CK - WHY LITTLE KIDS SUCK ???
- FREELOADERS GUIDE TO INTERNET DATING
- TWO GUYS WHO LICK WOMEN ON VIDEO ???
- MIENFOKS MYTH BUSTER "THE GAYNESS OF JEFF GARCIA"
- NEW "MICHAEL VICK" CHEW TOY FOR DOGS !
- BARRY BONDS HITS NUMBER 756*
- CHRISTINE AGUILERA SHOWS A LITTLE CLEAVAGE! ! !
- COOL NEW "LED FLASHLIGHT" WEAPON ! ! !
- Scientists reveal secret of levitation ! ! !
- OJ SIMPSON ON A LIVE CALL-IN SHOW ???
- WORST PLAYER EVER ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT
- EVER BEEN DRUNK AND TRY TO STAND UP ???
- PAM ANDERSON WINS MIENFOKS BIKINI TROPHY
- THE TRAP - TRICKY COMMERCIAL FOR TOYOTAS
- AWESOME OFFICE CHAIR JUMPING STUNTS ! ! !
- ORSEN WELLS BBC INTERVIEW 1974
- Sunshine helps in the fight against breast cancer
- CINDY CRAWFORD - STILL IN THE SUN AT 41
- TOM CRUISE MUST KILL HITLER ! ! !
- RACHEL RAY'S MONTAGE OF ORGASM FACES
- WHO'S CRAZIER -TED STEVENS vs ROBERT BYRD ?
- DITA VON TEESE - DISCIPLINES BUSH
- BHC - 9 "500 HORSEPOWER" CHOPPER ! ! !
- CHABERT LACEY IS HOT ! ! !
- KEVIN SMITH - PUNKS A GEEK LIVE ! ! !
- GEORGE CASTANZA AS KARL ROVE-MORT ???
- 200 YEAR OLD SUBMARINE ATTACKS QUEEN MARY ?
- BIKINI CARWASH GONE WRONG ! ! !
- RARE TIGER CUB TWINS
- WACKY NEWS BLOOPERS ! ! !
- LINDSAY LOHAN COMPARES HER CONTEMPORARIES
- WHY DO WE HAVE SEX ???
- TARA REID - ST TROPEZ & HOT AGAIN ???
- SCARLETT & JENNA WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN ???
- KELLY OSBOURNE - MAJOR MAKE OVER ???
- ▼ August (101)