Skip to comments.Prehistoric skull found in dump may be missing common ancestor of apes & humans
Posted on 11/07/2005 8:35:20 AM PST by dead
Palaeontologists excavating a dump outside Barcelona have found a skull dating back 14m years that could belong to a common ancestor of apes and humans.
The nearly intact skull, which has a flat face, jaw and teeth, may belong to a previously unknown species of great ape, said Salvador Moya, the chief palaeontologist on the dig. "We could find a cradle of humanity in the Mediterranean," he said.
A routine land survey for a planned expansion of the Can Mata dump in Els Hostalets de Pierola turned up the first surprise in 2002: a primate's tooth.
Since then, scientists from the Miquel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology in Sabadell have unearthed nearly 12,000 fossils of primates and other animals that lived during the Middle Miocene era - between 14m and 8m years ago - when the area was covered by tropical rainforest and populated by the precursors of today's elephants, antelopes and monkeys.
Last year, the team found a 13m-year-old partial skeleton, also believed to be a common ancestor of apes and humans - a male fruit-eater, nicknamed Pau.
"If there is a place in the world where it is possible to find an entire skeleton of a common ancestor to the great apes and humans, it is Hostalets de Pierola," Mr Moya told El País newspaper. "In few places [will] you uncover so many connected vertebrae in such good condition."
The Can Mata dump sits above clay soil in which animal remains became trapped and well-preserved.
They really are. A complete set of molars is present. Looking at the lower jaw, it's pretty apparent that this is some sort of monkey or ape, not anything else. The period is especially interesting for researchers working on the common ancestry concept, and this looks like a very rich source of fossil material. It's rare to find stuff in such good preservation, and that's going to play a large part in this.
Shut up. Questioning the priests of Darwin is indication of slope-headedness. /s
Yes. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
That's clearly a demon from hell.
Maybe they found it in a dinosaur "dump".
"Quick...hurry... put a picture of in the next run of the science text books and teach it as FACT. "
Oh, you can count on this fossil appearing in science texts sometime in the future. That it exists is a fact. That it comes from the Middle Miocene is a fact.
How it relates to later primates, including humans, is something that will have to be studied. And studied it will be.
By the way, it's "evolution" not "evilution."
LOL! You were just *waiting* for the perfect post for that reply!
"That's clearly a demon from hell."
Cladistics. A discovery can be shown to be representative of an evolutionary "link" without having to be demonstrated to be "the" link itself.
Actually, scientists are well aware of the issues you raised, and generally use language that is more consistent the understanding that such "links" are more likely representative offshoots of actual common ancestors than "the" common ancestors themselves. Note that Moya says "a common ancestor" rather than "the" common ancestor. And the research papers are even more careful in how they describe such things.
But press accounts of such scientific discoveries are often "dumbed down" (either through oversimplification, or the reporter's lack of understanding) and frequently state things in more simple -- but inaccurate -- terms.
Always check out the actual research papers, and take with a grain of salt (or a whole bag) whatever a "pop science" article has to say about it.
Garbled articles for the public about scientific issues is a pet peeve of mine.
Not 10 million, or 15 million, or 12.5 million, or "more than X million", but exactly 14 million. I see. Pardon my skepticism.
No wonder the ancients created the vampire evil. obviously a take off on a rather backward flavor of man bearing some simian-like eye teeth. Ditto the story of Beowulf, an ancient tale of how an advanced flavor of man fought off a very crude and barbaric flavor. These stories aren't accidents. Myths are the foggiest, grainiest look into our ancient past.
Dianetics. A discovery can be shown to be representative of a "link" to Xenu without having to be demonstrated to be "the" link itself.
"My response to this is to cite the dismal record of so-called missing links:
Would that missing Nebraska man be on offense or defense?
I knew there was a reason for their football team's demise this year.
Nonsense! These evildoers were just temparily in Miocene Spain on their way to France to make trouble for the peace-loving multiculturalist Pliopithecus types, and burn their cars. ;)
No evilution... as genetic mutation always results in information lossage. In man's case, diminished brain capacity resulting in beliefs in darwinism, communism, athiesm and liberalism. Also accompanied by loss of bladder control and sense of humour.