Mysterious skull discovered challenges theory humans originated in Africa

An ape fossil found in Turkey that dates back millions of years is challenging the conventional theory that human ancestors evolved in Africa.

1 minute & 43 seconds read time

A new study published in the journal Communications Biology has detailed the discovery of an ancient ape skull in Turkey, thus challenging the widely held theory that humans originated in Africa.

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The new study details the discovery of a part of an ape skull that was found by archaeologists in Cankiri, Turkey, and its significance is derived from its estimated age, which is 8.7 million years ago, along with its location. Notably, hominins, which include African apes and eventually humans, are dated to have appeared in Africa around 7 million years ago.

The ancient ape skull called Anadoluvius turkae now challenges the theory that human ancestors, African apes, came exclusively from Africa, even going as far as to suggest that hominins may have evolved in Europe first and then migrated to Africa. The researchers write that to prove this theory, additional fossils need to be found dating between the two aforementioned eras (seven and eight million years ago), and a link needs to be established.

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"Our findings further suggest that hominins not only evolved in western and central Europe but spent over five million years evolving there and spreading to the eastern Mediterranean before eventually dispersing into Africa, probably as a consequence of changing environments and diminishing forests," said Professor David Begun, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Toronto and co-senior author of the study, per The Telegraph.

"This new evidence supports the hypothesis that hominins originated in Europe and dispersed into Africa along with many other mammals between nine and seven million years ago, though it does not definitively prove it," he said.

While researchers on the other side of the fence say the discovery of this ape skull, which was originally found in 2015 and only recently published, says its discovery is insignificant to the wider theory.

"This has been a long-running debate regarding great ape and our origins," said Professor Chris Stringer, research leader in human evolution at the Natural History Museum in London, The Telegraph reported.

"I don't think this find changes much from the discussions (in a recent paper in the journal Science) which concluded: 'Current evidence suggests that hominins originated in Africa from Miocene ape ancestors unlike any living species.'"

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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