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'Original' great ape discovered [New genus "Missing Link" found!]
BBC ^ | 2/18/07 | Paul Rincon

Posted on 02/18/2007 11:40:54 PM PST by LibWhacker

Scientists have unearthed remains of a primate that could have been ancestral not only to humans but to all great apes, including chimps and gorillas.

The partial skeleton of this 13-million-year-old "missing link" was found by palaeontologists working at a dig site near Barcelona in Spain.

Details of the sensational discovery appear in Science magazine.

The new specimen was probably male, a fruit-eater and was slightly smaller than a chimpanzee, researchers say.

Palaeontologists were just getting started at the dig when a bulldozer churned up a tooth.

Further investigation yielded one of the most complete ape skeletons known from the Miocene Epoch (about 22 to 5.5 million years ago).

Salvador Moyà-Solà of the Miquel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology in Barcelona and colleagues subsequently found parts of the skull, ribcage, spine, hands and feet, along with other bones.

They have assigned it to an entirely new genus and species: Pierolapithecus catalaunicus .

Monkey business

Great apes are thought - on the basis of genetic and other evidence - to have separated from another primate group known as the lesser apes some time between 11 and 16 million years ago (The lesser apes include gibbons and siamang).

It is fascinating, therefore, for a specimen like Pierolapithecus to turn up right in this window.

Scientists think the creature lived after the lesser apes went their own evolutionary way, but before the great apes began their own diversification into different forms such as orang-utans, gorillas, chimps and, of course, humans.

" Pierolapithecus probably is, or is very close to, the last common ancestor of great apes and humans," said Professor Moyà-Solà.

The new ape's ribcage, lower spine and wrist display signs of specialised climbing abilities that link it with modern great apes, say the researchers.

The overall orthograde - or upright - body design of this animal and modern-day great apes is thought to be an adaptation to vertical climbing and suspending the body from branches.

The Miocene ape fossil record is patchy; so finding such a complete fossil from this time period is unprecedented.

"It's very impressive because of its completeness," David Begun, professor of palaeoanthropology at the University of Toronto, Canada, told the BBC News website.

"I think the authors are right that it fills a gap between the first apes to arrive in Europe and the fossil apes that more closely resemble those living today."

Planet of the apes

Other scientists working on fossil apes were delighted by the discovery. But not all were convinced by the conclusions drawn by the Spanish researchers.

Professor Begun considers it unlikely that Pierolapithecus was ancestral to orang-utans.

"I haven't seen the original fossils. But there are four or five important features of the face, in particular, that seem to be closer to African apes," he explained.

"To me the possibility exists that it is already on the evolutionary line to African apes and humans."

Professor David Pilbeam, director of the Peadbody Museum in Cambridge, US, was even more sceptical about the relationship of Pierolapithecus to modern great apes: "To me it's a very long stretch to link this to any of the living apes," he told the BBC News website.

"I think it's unlikely that you would find relatives of the apes that live today in equatorial Africa and Asia up in Europe.

"But it's interesting in that it appears to show some adaptations towards having a trunk that's upright because it's suspending itself [from branches].

"It also has some features that show quadrupedal (four-legged) behaviour. Not quadrupedal in the way chimps or gorillas are, but more in the way that monkeys are - putting their fingers down flat," he explained.

During the Miocene, Earth really was the planet of the apes.

As many as 100 different ape species roamed the Old World, from France to China in Eurasia and from Kenya to Namibia in Africa.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ape; catalaunicus; evolution; godsgravesglyphs; great; missinglink; original; pierolapithecus; piltdownman
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1 posted on 02/18/2007 11:40:57 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

I thought the "missing link" was somewhere between apes and humans...


2 posted on 02/18/2007 11:42:10 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might)
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To: The Old Hoosier

Yes, they describe this as a missing link. So I take it there is more than one gap in the fossil record?


3 posted on 02/18/2007 11:44:57 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

I would think it's just the brit senationalist press calling it that for fun. But I think the real so-called "missing link" is elsewhere in the chain.


4 posted on 02/18/2007 11:47:50 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might)
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To: LibWhacker
The partial skeleton of this 13-million-year-old "missing link"

And the "missing link" chain is now, what, about a mile long? But, there is room for more.

5 posted on 02/18/2007 11:49:38 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: The Old Hoosier

Since humans are apes how could there be a missing link such as you thought?


6 posted on 02/18/2007 11:57:46 PM PST by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 9/12/01.)
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To: ASA Vet
Since humans are apes how could there be a missing link such as you thought?

Humans are primates, not apes, although I've seen some people who would make you wonder...

7 posted on 02/19/2007 12:15:57 AM PST by Zeroisanumber (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: LibWhacker

Looks to me like a picture of Hillary speaking.


8 posted on 02/19/2007 12:18:09 AM PST by Witchman63
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To: The Old Hoosier

They had to call it a "missing link" to promote Darwinism. It is not a missing link and it is an ape not half ape half man. See my tag line.


9 posted on 02/19/2007 12:22:34 AM PST by fish hawk (The religion of Darwinism = Monkey Intellect)
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To: The Old Hoosier
I thought the "missing link" was somewhere between apes and humans...

EVERYTHING is called "the missing link" - - it's how vain scientists get their names in the journals and troll for grant money.

10 posted on 02/19/2007 12:31:06 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Zeroisanumber
"Primate" is the order which includes the family "Hominidae" (great apes.)

Modern humans are a sub-species within that family.
We are apes of the primate order.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Genus: Homo
Species: H. sapiens
Subspecies: H. s. sapiens

11 posted on 02/19/2007 12:40:06 AM PST by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 9/12/01.)
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To: ASA Vet
Part of me knew that, the other part was clogged with malted hops.

Teaches me to drunk post.

12 posted on 02/19/2007 12:47:00 AM PST by Zeroisanumber (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: ASA Vet

Thanks for that. I've never understood it. How many "kingdoms" are there, anyway? How many classes, etc.? Do you know of a website where it's all spelled out in a simple straightforward way so a complete beginner can understand it? Thanks.


13 posted on 02/19/2007 12:47:22 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: ASA Vet

I am NOT an ape!!!!(though I have been told I have the taqble manners of one)


14 posted on 02/19/2007 12:57:05 AM PST by screaming eagle2 (No matter what you call it,a pre-owned vehicle is still a USED CAR!)
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To: screaming eagle2
I am NOT an ape!!!!

OK, so in which family, if not Hominidae, do you claim to be?

15 posted on 02/19/2007 1:09:21 AM PST by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 9/12/01.)
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To: LibWhacker

The Linneaen system is actually outdated at the moment, but I think that you can say with pretty high confidence that there are 3 "kingdoms": Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota. And then there are the viruses, but nobody's really sure just what the hell they are or where they came from, because they evolve so quickly.

The most up-to-date website, although it claims not to be comprehensive in any regard, is the NCBI Taxonomy site: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Root. But if you're a complete beginner, then the best place to go exploring is the Tree of Life: http://tolweb.org


16 posted on 02/19/2007 1:22:43 AM PST by zylphed
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To: screaming eagle2

Ok. What makes you not an ape?


17 posted on 02/19/2007 1:23:12 AM PST by zylphed
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To: zylphed

Oh, thanks for those! The TolWeb site looks just right for me at the moment (although I think I'll eventually spend lots of time at both): Lots of footnotes and links to other sites, which I always appreciate. This stuff has always been confusing to me. Thanks again. Cheers!


18 posted on 02/19/2007 1:31:55 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

19 posted on 02/19/2007 1:36:35 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: zylphed
And hominids are closer to humans than hominoids?
20 posted on 02/19/2007 1:41:03 AM PST by Eclectica (Ask your MD about Evolution. Please!)
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To: Eclectica

Of course. And I don't think that I necessarily agree that gibbons warrant inclusion into the popular definition of "ape" simply because they lack a tail. Although they are brachiating primates. This is what makes classification of life so difficult. There is no clear differentiation point between anything in life. What's a gene? What's an organism? What's life?

I often wonder how different the human world would be today if we weren't separated from our nearest extant species by more than 4 million years. That is one of the only things that makes us unique genetically.


21 posted on 02/19/2007 1:50:16 AM PST by zylphed
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To: LibWhacker

Thereis nothing to indicate this is anything other than an ape.

All it is, is bone buried in rock layers laid down by water.

That's all we can PROVE.


22 posted on 02/19/2007 1:59:47 AM PST by RaceBannon (Innocent until proven guilty: The Pendleton 8...down to 3..GWB, we hardly knew ye...)
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To: ASA Vet
["But there are four or five important features of the face, in particular, that seem to be closer to African apes,..." ]

Hmmm... after looking at it, it seems to have some facial features that don't - quite - resemble human beings, either. I counted more than four or five. But, hey, who am I to say? Maybe there are plenty of humans who look just like that...

"We are apes of the primate order."

What do you mean, "we?" You speaking French? That skull doesn't look like any of my relatives... not even my in-laws.
23 posted on 02/19/2007 2:03:49 AM PST by jim35 ("...when the lion and the lamb lie down together, ...we'd better damn sure be the lion")
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To: LibWhacker

You're welcome. I actually love to just play around with the NCBI taxonomy website. The history of life really is not what you would expect simply by looking at things.

Since it seems like you like this kind of stuff, I'll give you another thing that I like to play around with (but you will have to do a little research on your own to know how to use it). The clustalW site (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/clustalw/) can give you the approximate taxonomic relationship between whatever sequences you enter into it. For example, I think the last time I did it, I used Rag (recombination activating gene), because it was a gene that I was working on.

I looked up the Rag gene sequence (on NCBI) from a few mammals, and plugged it into ClustalW. The comparisons of this one relatively short sequence (a few thousand nucleotides) almost entirely matched up with the taxonomy that thousands of people have worked on their entire lives. And that will be true for whatever gene you pick to plug into ClustalW. This is not something that only biologists can do. You can prove to yourself, without giving the ClustalW program any indication of which organism is which, how the tree of life has worked itself out.


24 posted on 02/19/2007 2:10:28 AM PST by zylphed
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To: ASA Vet

Actually, apes belong to the Pongid family. Apes do not belong to the Hominid family.


25 posted on 02/19/2007 2:14:24 AM PST by joseph20
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To: jim35
What do you mean, "we?"

Sorry. I just assumed you to be human.

26 posted on 02/19/2007 2:16:16 AM PST by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 9/12/01.)
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To: joseph20

That is a long out-of-date (50 years ago long) view of primates. Right now, there is no pongid family. The ponginae are the subfamily to which orangutans belong. In fact, as it is understood now, Pan troglodytes (chimps, which are obviously apes) belong to the same family, subfamily, and tribe as humans. (that would be Hominidae, Homininae, and Hominini)


27 posted on 02/19/2007 2:24:07 AM PST by zylphed
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To: ASA Vet

["Sorry. I just assumed you to be human."]

You are the one claiming to be an ape, not me. I am a human, the same as other humans, who are created in the image of God.

If you want to call yourself an ape, because you see some resemblence there, who am I to argue? This is America, after all.

You can call yourself giraffe, for all I care, just don't include the rest of us.


28 posted on 02/19/2007 2:35:31 AM PST by jim35 ("...when the lion and the lamb lie down together, ...we'd better damn sure be the lion")
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To: RaceBannon

How long, do you suppose, before someone posts that tree of life thingy?


29 posted on 02/19/2007 2:39:16 AM PST by jim35 ("...when the lion and the lamb lie down together, ...we'd better damn sure be the lion")
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To: joseph20
Family Hominidae: humans and other great apes; extinct genera and species excluded.

A. - Subfamily Ponginae

Genus Pongo
Bornean Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus
Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus
Pongo pygmaeus morio
Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii
Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii

B. - Subfamily Homininae

1. - Tribe Gorillini
a. - Genus Gorilla
Western Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla
Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla
Cross River Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla diehli
Eastern Gorilla, Gorilla beringei
Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei
Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla beringei graueri

2. - Tribe Hominini
a. - Genus Pan
Common Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes
Central Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes troglodytes
West African Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes verus
Nigerian Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes vellerosus
Eastern Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii
Bonobo (Pygmy Chimpanzee), Pan paniscus

b. - Genus Homo
Human, Homo sapiens sapiens

30 posted on 02/19/2007 2:39:32 AM PST by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 9/12/01.)
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To: zylphed

I did a quick check and there appears to be some controversy over how to arrange the taxonomy.

I'm dubious about your characterization of my statement as "long out-of-date".


31 posted on 02/19/2007 2:41:40 AM PST by joseph20
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To: jim35

well, they got the early picture in the first post now...a new one, too...(yawn)...


32 posted on 02/19/2007 3:01:14 AM PST by RaceBannon (Innocent until proven guilty: The Pendleton 8...down to 3..GWB, we hardly knew ye...)
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To: zylphed

cogit, ergo sum?


33 posted on 02/19/2007 3:02:27 AM PST by RaceBannon (Innocent until proven guilty: The Pendleton 8...down to 3..GWB, we hardly knew ye...)
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To: The Old Hoosier

If you will notice, “missing link” is in quotes, indicating it is being used in a colloquial manner. It is the same as when I use the term “esteemed” news media or “esteemed” politicians.


34 posted on 02/19/2007 3:07:36 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: ASA Vet
Sometime in the 1960s it went from this:



To this:



For some reason, the Pongid family was demoted into a subfamily within the Hominid family.
35 posted on 02/19/2007 3:13:28 AM PST by joseph20
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To: taxesareforever
OK, an experiment. Sit down and write down in a list EVERYTHING you did in the past 24 hours. Everything.

Of course you won't remember everything and there will be gaps - ie. "missing links" between some of your activities.

Does this mean that you really didn't do ANY of those activities yesterday? I think you would say "no - of course I did them - I just can't remember what I did in between"

And this is with things you did in the past 24 hours!!!

Does this make all of the things you DID remember and put on the list "wrong"?? Did yesterday not exist for you because of "gaps in the record"??

Now, try the same activity for a week ago - a year ago.

Massive amounts of gaps, -eh?? But, the things you DO remember actually did happen.

Now, imagine applying the same logic to bones that only RARELY fossilize and are even more rarely found.

Of COURSE there are going to be gaps. And, little by little, finds are made that start to creat a better picture. Like your memory of one year ago, some gaps will never be filled - others will be filled in great detail showing minute chanages over time..

"Gaps" don't invalidate what happened in the past.

36 posted on 02/19/2007 3:17:43 AM PST by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: joseph20

There's some controversy over what to call the taxonomy. There is virtually no controversy over what the taxonomy actually is. Which is that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related than gorillas and chimpanzees. And if chimps and gorillas are apes, then so are we. Maybe you'd object less if we called chimps, gorillas and humans "hominids" rather than "apes."


37 posted on 02/19/2007 3:20:44 AM PST by zylphed
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To: joseph20

Because we have molecular (which is considered much more highly reliable, in the short term - eg, <100 mya) rather than simply morphological/behavioral evidence now.


38 posted on 02/19/2007 3:23:12 AM PST by zylphed
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To: RaceBannon

What is the qualitative difference in human/chimp thinking? We're both self-aware.


39 posted on 02/19/2007 3:24:40 AM PST by zylphed
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To: LibWhacker
The new ape's ribcage, lower spine and wrist display signs of specialised climbing abilities that link it with modern great apes, say the researchers.

Yes, folks. We can make all these speculations but we have no clue whether it is even male or female.

40 posted on 02/19/2007 3:32:35 AM PST by Raycpa
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To: zylphed
Which is that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related than gorillas and chimpanzees.

It doesn't look that way on the face of it. Lined up all 3 in a row, I'd pick out the two sloped-back hairy beasts with hands for feet as being more alike than the bare-skinned frail-framed body of a human.
41 posted on 02/19/2007 3:36:47 AM PST by joseph20
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To: zylphed
Because we have molecular (which is considered much more highly reliable, in the short term - eg, <100 mya) rather than simply morphological/behavioral evidence now.

I figured it must be something in the microscope that makes you think that humans and chimps are more alike than gorillas and chimps. Using your own two eyes and common sense, it sounds absurd you must admit!
42 posted on 02/19/2007 3:39:14 AM PST by joseph20
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To: LibWhacker

They found a monkey. This is news?


43 posted on 02/19/2007 3:47:37 AM PST by Tax-chick (Every "choice" has a direct object.)
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To: Tax-chick

I wonder how they know that these are not just the "elephant man" equivalents for monkeys?

Out of all the old monkey bones they dig up, they finally find a freak and automatically it's thought to belong to a species of it's own?


44 posted on 02/19/2007 3:52:15 AM PST by joseph20
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To: joseph20

Like the deformed dolphin recently, that "proved" dolphins evolved from 4-legged land animals.

People see what they want to see.


45 posted on 02/19/2007 3:54:19 AM PST by Tax-chick (Every "choice" has a direct object.)
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To: Tax-chick
They found a monkey.

They found an ape apparently :)

Is there a difference between monkeys and apes?

46 posted on 02/19/2007 3:54:48 AM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: LibWhacker

47 posted on 02/19/2007 3:56:07 AM PST by Alouette (Learned Mother of Zion)
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To: mewzilla

How interesting! Now I know :-).


48 posted on 02/19/2007 3:57:05 AM PST by Tax-chick (Every "choice" has a direct object.)
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To: Tax-chick

That critter's got a nice set of choppers, doesn't he? Wow.


49 posted on 02/19/2007 3:59:10 AM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: mewzilla
I just ran across this...

www.boneclones.com

For anyone who needs a conversation piece :)

50 posted on 02/19/2007 4:07:29 AM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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