Convoluted human evolution: ape, chimp split (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, February 12, 2016, 19:57 (830 days ago) @ David Turell

Apes probably 10 mya, chimps 8 mya:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossils-shed-new-light-on-human-gorilla-split...

:The research team focused on the Chorora Formation, the oldest known sediments from the Afar rift. (The formation gets its name from Chorora, a village in the area.)

:In 2007, Suwa and his colleagues discovered nine gorilla-size teeth from the Chorora Formation that belonged to an extinct ape they named Chororapithecus abyssinicus. "Chororapithecus" means "ape from Chorora," while "abyssinicus" refers to Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia.

:The teeth of Chororapithecus appeared specialized for eating stems and leaves, and resembled those of modern gorillas, which suggests that, "Chororapithecus probably represents an ancestral branch of the gorilla lineage," Suwa told Live Science. As such, heand his colleagues wanted to pin down how old Chororapithecus was, in order to better pinpoint when the human and gorilla lineages may have first diverged.

***

:The age and location of these fossils strengthen the view that the human and the modern ape lines originated in Africa and not Asia, the researchers said.

"'Until now, no mammalian fossils south of the Sahara have been securely dated to 8 million to 9 million years ago," Suwa said. "Any and all fossils from this crucial time period of Africa would help unravel the story of human origins and emergence. These are the first such fossils."


***

"The new findings suggest that Chororapithecus is 8 million years old, so "the actual gorilla-human split must then have been up to several million years before that," Suwa said. Therefore, the study shows that the human-gorilla split could have happened "at around 10 million years ago and the human-chimp split at around 8 million years ago," he said."

Comment: The original changes for upright posture in the lumbar spine of monkeys was seen in fossils about 20 mya. Our bodies are similar. If one believes in some form of evolutionary process, here had to be a split at some point.


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