Controversial study suggests earliest humans lived in Europe – not Africa

Exposing the Big Game

Controversial new research suggests that modern humans evolved from apes in the Eastern Mediterranean — not from ancestors in Africa, as long believed by the majority of scientists.

The researchers’ bold, potentially paradigm-shifting claims were published in two studies Tuesday in the journal PLOS One.

The researchers base their arguments on analysis of two Graecopithecus freybergi ape fossils, a lower jaw found in Greece and an upper premolar found in Bulgaria, dating back 7.24 and 7.175 million years, respectively.

The team argued that several dental features from these fossils — in particular, partially fused premolar roots on the lower jaw fossil— make a convincing case that the Graecopithecus freybergi is the earliest known human ancestor. Scientists have seen partially fused premolar roots in several fossils throughout the human lineage.

If the fossils mark the earliest moment of…

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