Scientists: the ancestors of the people could appear in the Balkans, not Africa

© J. H. MatternesТак looked grahpical the descendants of African ardipithecusScientists: the ancestors of the people could appear in the Balkans, not Africa© J. H. Matternes

. Paleontologists have discovered in Bulgaria and Greece, the remains of an unusual humanoid creatures that lived 7.2 million years ago, and had an almost human teeth, according to a paper published in the journal PLoS One.

«The roots of the teeth all higher primates are clearly separated from each other, while Graecopithecus they converge and partially merge with each other. Such a feature is a distinguishing characteristic of modern humans, our ancestors and some man-apes, such as ardipithecus and the Australopithecines,» says Madeleine böhme (Madelaine Boehme) from the University of tübingen (Germany).

Böhme and her colleagues say the discovery, which, according to them, will revolutionize our understanding of the evolution and origin of humanity based on three things. Among them is the opening of the unusual remains of an ancient Primate in Greece and Bulgaria, the geological history of the Mediterranean in the last 10-15 million years, and fossil Sands of the Sahara.

How to tell the scientists, the alleged ancestors of humans and chimpanzees, our closest relatives today, divided approximately 8-9 million years ago. The first representatives of the genus Homo, as paleontologists now believe, arose about 3 million years ago in Eastern or southern Africa, however, the remains of their ancient relatives – sahelanthropus and orrorin were found much farther North, in Chad and Kenya. All this, according to Boehme and her colleagues, makes the search for the homeland of the ancestors of chimpanzees and humans is extremely difficult.

The answer to this question, the researchers believe, may be hiding in fossils found in 1944 near the city of Pyrgos in southern Greece, near the ruins of Olympia. Here scientists have found fragments of skull and jaw unusually large APE, Graecopithecus freybergi, who lived on earth during the Miocene, approximately 7-10 million years ago.

A small number of remains and a restricted area of the excavation, over which the owner built the pool, not allowed scientists to extract the remaining parts of the skeleton. So today recopilaci, as they are called paleontologists, have «suspended» status and not take a position in the tree of evolution of primates. Part primatologia consider them separate species, others a subspecies of ouranopithecus, large ancient apes, like orangutans.

Recently, the authors conducted excavations on the territory of Bulgaria, where they found teeth, presumably belonging to precapitalism, lived there for about of 7.17 million years ago. This led them to re-analyze the remains of these apes and try to figure out who could be the ancestors and descendants of these primates.

To do this, paleontologists enlighten the remains of grammitical using computed tomography and analyzed their structure, comparing with the teeth and jaws of modern and extinct primates. These photographs confirmed that the teeth found in Bulgaria belonged to precapitalism, and revealed an interesting feature in their anatomy.

Safari in Europe

As it turned out, the roots of molars in these ancient creatures were arranged in the same way as humans and our direct ancestors, and differed from what looked like the teeth of chimpanzees and other higher primates.

It is very important for the reason that the teeth of mammals are their «hallmark» and the similarities and differences in their device are one of the main signs of family ties or their absence. Accordingly, we can say that Graecopithecus freybergi, are direct relatives of humans, Australopithecus and other hominin.

How could this happen? The fact that during the Miocene the climate of South Europe and North Africa was quite different from the one that prevails there today. About 7 million years ago the Mediterranean sea, due to the formation of Gibraltar and the Atlas in Africa, as well as the growth of glaciers in Antarctica was completely isolated from the Atlantic.

Due to this, the Mediterranean sea almost completely dried, and it Sands and salt, as shown by excavations Boehme and her colleagues began to fill southern Europe – then it got 10 times more dust than today bring wind from the Sahara.

The climate of Europe changed dramatically due to the disappearance of the sea, and the Balkans and other southern regions of the subcontinent evolved a long time in the analogue of the African Savannah. On this, as the researchers note, says the presence of many traces of fire and herbaceous plants in the sand, the deposits in which they are found in Bulgaria and Greece.

Climate change, according to the authors, could make the ancestors of grammitical and people are quick to evolve, adapting to life in Savannah. Then populations of these man-apes could migrate South, moving along the boundaries formed then of the Sahara, and get into the alleged «cradle of humankind» in the South and South-East Africa.