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13 million-year-old human ancestor unearthed

Posted on Thursday, 10 August, 2017 | Comment icon 22 comments

The species would have looked similar to a gibbon (pictured). Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Julielangford
Palaeontologists have discovered the skull of what is thought to be mankind's earliest known ancestor.
Unearthed within the Napudet area of Kenya, the fossil skull is particularly well preserved because the animal had been engulfed, along with its forest home, by a devastating volcanic eruption.

Named Nyanzapithecus alesi, this prehistoric primate, which lived approximately 13 million years ago, was a small and agile tree-dwelling creature not dissimilar to today's gibbons.

"Nyanzapithecus alesi was part of a group of primates that existed in Africa for over 10 million years," said study lead author Dr Isaiah Nengo of Stony Brook University.

"What the discovery of Alesi shows is that this group was close to the origin of living apes and humans and that this origin was African."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (22)

Tags: Human

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by brizink on 11 August, 2017, 16:38
This is psudo-science. This species could be completely and utterly disconnected from the han family tree, or it could be an ancestor of ours. But they ALWAYS claim a new ape species is our relative if it's remains are from pre-antiquity. This is bull crap, they make these claims with little to no evidence and we know they don't have DNA because it degrades too quickly to last millions of years. All conjecture, and there's no real science that we know of that really tells us the real story. They can examine the bones and compare them to humans, but you could find a chimpanzee skull from a coup... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Parsec on 12 August, 2017, 10:11
  Repetita iuvant? 
Comment icon #15 Posted by MisterMan on 12 August, 2017, 15:53
I weep for the future.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Trenix on 12 August, 2017, 16:13
Same. Science used to be about finding answers and questioning everything. Now we seem to believe that any sort of evidence, no matter how farfetched it is, gets classified as fact. You essentially tell me I must believe in this idea, or else I'm an idiot. That's dangerous for our future and moving forward. Can this skull be from a previous ancestor? Maybe. But they truly know? Absolutely not. I don't even believe in evolution. Evolution is an idea that makes sense so it can be believable, but it's not more than that.
Comment icon #17 Posted by MisterMan on 12 August, 2017, 16:30
There's no need to "believe" in evolution.  The evidence for evolution and its principal driving force, natural selection, are overwhelming. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by Trenix on 12 August, 2017, 20:08
Actually that's not true at all. I believe in natural selection, but only at some levels. I don't believe a fish will turn into a bird, or a bird will turn into a fish. We don't have evidence of such things. Even fish becoming land animals is a little farfetched, we see plenty of animals nowadays which are both land and water animals, that doesn't mean they're evolving to become one or the other. Take for example frogs, we have frogs and toads, is the water frog proof that a fish evolved into a frog and then became a toad? That's just ridiculous. I used to believe in evolution, because school ... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by MisterMan on 12 August, 2017, 20:22
This is why I weep.
Comment icon #20 Posted by ShadowSot on 12 August, 2017, 21:38
Actually evolution depends on chance mutation. Some small adaption giving an advantage over previous existence.  Meanwhile, it isn't fish to birds. That's a straw man at best.   We go have a length fossil record. We have animals that develop complexity as we move upthe chain. We see very primitive amphibians and more complex reptiles. We see theropods with arms becoming more suited for flight over time.   We don't see anything that appears suddenly without precident. 
Comment icon #21 Posted by Doug1o29 on 16 August, 2017, 19:14
That's sort of begging the question.  That common ancestor looked so much like a chimp, we'd all swear it was one. Doug
Comment icon #22 Posted by Doug1o29 on 16 August, 2017, 19:17
Evolutionary biologists don't believe that either.  They believe in evolution, not made up stories. Doug

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