An ape fossil found in Turkey may controversially suggest that the ancestors of African apes and humans first evolved in Europe before migrating to Africa, a research team says in a new study.
The proposal breaks with the conventional view that hominines — the group that includes humans, the African apes (chimps, bonobos and gorillas) and their fossil ancestors — originated exclusively in Africa.
However, the discovery of several hominine fossils in Europe and Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) has already led some researchers to argue that hominines first evolved in Europe. This view suggests that hominines later dispersed into Africa between 7 million and 9 million years ago.
Study co-senior author David Begun, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Toronto, clarified that they are talking about the common ancestor of hominines, and not about the human lineage after it diverged from the ancestors of chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest living relatives.
“Since that divergence, most of human evolutionary history has occurred in Africa,” Begun told Live Science. “It is also most likely that the chimpanzee and human lineages diverged from each other in Africa.” [Continue reading…]