An older missing link

Missy posted this fascinating article:

A new find in the Eastern Mediterranean has led some scientists to believe that there is a possibility that humankind began there rather than in Africa as previously believed.

The fossil find is approximately 200,000 years earlier than believed to be the beginning of humans. The scientists believe that this find shows the beginning of the change from apes to humans.

That’s an accurate description, less so the headline and opening paragraph.

From: Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find

The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

That’s not what was found. The new discovery is of human fossils from Europe that are older than the oldest ones found in Africa, but that doesn’t rule out older human ancestors having lived in  Africa or elsewhere.

The new discovery just sets the timeline back a bit more, but there is still a lot that’s unknown.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknameded ‘El Graeco’ by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid.

An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans – the so-called Missing Link – in the Mediterranean region.

It doesn’t “entirely change the beginning of human history”, it just provides another piece of the jigsaw that pushes knowledge back a another couple of hundred thousand years – if the dating is accurate.

The article also says as much.

“To some extent this is a newly discovered missing link. But missing links will always exist , because evolution is infinite chain of subsequent forms.

Probably  El Graeco’s face will resemble a great ape, with shorter canines.”

Someone has had a shot at visualising that.

An artist's impression of Graecopithecus 

An artist’s impression of Graecopithecus 
Credit: National Museum of Natural History – Sofia, Assen Ignatov

Fascinating, but this is unlikely to be the first link in the human chain.

And another point:

During the period the Mediterranean Sea went through frequent periods of drying up completely, forming a land bridge between Europe and Africa and allowing apes and early hominids to pass between the continents.

If the Mediterranean was dried up completely then Africa and Europe were effectively not separate continents, they were part of a continuous land mass.

8 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  May 23, 2017

    Hence my claim Creationism is every bit as valid as Evolution Theory. ET has artefacts to back their claims. But they have no coherent proof or consistent timeline to back that theory.

    Creationism can only claim indirect proof via artefacts. But Creationism has a coherent time that isn’t open to dispute with every new artefact found.

    • I’m not aware of any artefacts that prove creationism. And a coherent creation time line? Back to when, the big bang?

      • Corky

         /  May 23, 2017

        . ‘And a coherent creation time line? Back to when, the big bang?’

        No, back to when God spoke the word and started the creation process. Word creation is still used in the Jewish mystical system called Kabbalah. Each miracle in the bible had word cyphers to bring about its reality..

        I talked of ‘indirect proof via artefacts.’ Eg the supposed remains of the Ark. The complexity of the human brain only god could create etc. It may sound kooky, but compared to a flow chart mapping evolution, it is coherent.

        • Gezza

           /  May 23, 2017

          It is coherent only in the sense that all books of fiction & recorded historical myths are. You can read what they say from the start to finish & believe some of them are true or real if you don’t know any better.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 23, 2017

      You can’t prove a theory. You can only disprove it. Creationism makes no useful or testable predictions so cannot be disproven. Basically, it is simply a commitment not to think or ask questions.

  2. NOEL

     /  May 23, 2017

    Isn’t the media marvelous. The study states “provides intriguing evidence of what COULD
    be the oldest known hominin.”

    Extrapolated by Telegraph journos to “Europe was the birthplace of mankind.”

    Maybe the Yank fella is on to something.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 23, 2017

    When a science editor writes “most experts believe” it is time to get a new science editor.