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Palaeontology

13 million-year-old human ancestor unearthed

By T.K. Randall
August 10, 2017 · Comment icon 30 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 (30)




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Comment icon #21 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
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 Doug1029 7 years ago
Evolutionary biologists don't believe that either.  They believe in evolution, not made up stories. Doug
Comment icon #23 Posted by Trenix 7 years ago
I don't believe mutation is responsible for evolution whatsoever, if the theory is right that is. Adaptation is way more believable. I mean mutations are rare, they are usually not beneficial, you then have to rely on having that animal reproduce with that rare mutation, and you then have to hope that animal wouldn't die before it reproduces, you than have to hope it passes down to the offspring, I mean just so much probability that it just ridiculous. As for my straw man, it just shows that we never have a change of kind. An animal truly never completely changes, it adapts. People claim we al... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Trenix 7 years ago
Of course they don't believe a change of kind, because that's one of the arguments that disprove evolution. Surely after all of our mutations that we had, we'd have human living in water and flying in the air. Oh wait no. Humans are on the ground, birds are in the air, fish are in the water, and magically no new animals form into existence. I just find it funny how people laugh at creationism, but yet they believe in the stories like the big bang, life's existence, and evolution. Those are pretty much 3 miracles that need to happen for us to get where we are at. I'm not saying creationism is a... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by MisterMan 7 years ago
 And what do you suppose causes the adaptation?  (Hint: It's the thing you don't believe in.)  You are correct about one thing.  Mutations are usually not beneficial (or harmful).  Those few that are harmful tend to not get passed along.  Those that are beneficial do tend to get passed along, because the individuals with the beneficial mutation tend to have better than average reproductive success.  BTW, mutations (random errors in DNA) are not really rare.  Every organism has them.  Even you.  Fortunately, most don't have any impact at all.  And speaking of probability, it's ... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by Trenix 7 years ago
Evolution through adaptation is believable. But evolution doesn't just end there, it takes in mutation, which is random rather than intentional. This excepts the idea of change of kind which there is no evidence of. This is why I say I believe in adaptation over evolution. I don't believe we evolve through randomness whatsoever. Both mutations, good or bad, can be both dominant or recessive. So you would think that a good mutation would be a dominant gene to further improve the organism, but that's not always true. An organism will adapt to it's environment, that's proven, and nothing is rando... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by MisterMan 7 years ago
Mutations are random.  The survivability of each mutation is not random.  Gradual, cumulative change, through the buildup of mutations (selected naturally by survival (non-death) at each stage) make evolution happen.  Please read a book.  You really should understand what the theory actually says before you attempt to argue against it.  
Comment icon #28 Posted by brizink 7 years ago
Why? Because we choose to actually question "academia" vs blindly accepting everything "scientists" have to say about something. They have nothing to go on but this Thing happens to be a hominid so it MUST fit into our family tree? EVERY time an ancient hominid's remains are discovered (particularly in Africa) the initial claim is invariably "another human ancestor has been discovered" which for instance, Homoheidelbragensis was initially thought to be our ancestor but it took decades for them to retract that and settle on HHB being an example of independent evolution and only in later generat... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by C L Palmer 7 years ago
If you really want to get into the psychology of evolution consider for a moment that these species, kingdoms and etc. are all groups determined and named by humans. DNA doesn't have a kingdom segment, a phylum segment, a class segment and etc. This is human-determined nomenclature. A given specimen resembles to a group of human eyes another specimen and is placed into a family/genus based on the speculation and perspective of a group of people. There is no solid basis for this, and in fact these categorizations are subject to change depending on changes in the prevailing opinion. (Kingdom Mon... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Parsec 7 years ago
No, it's because you are uneducated on this specific topic and unwilling to learn.  Further, you assume that your opinion has the same weight as 150 years of scientific research. You have your preconception and, based on the exchanges on this forum, you have no intention nor interest in challenging it.  That is close-mindeness (at best).    That's why I guess he weeps. 


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