Ancient great ape fossil found in Africa

August 24, 2007

Scientists in Africa say they've have a found the fossil teeth of an ancient great ape that extends the human family tree millions of years.

The new species of great ape was uncovered in the desert scrubland of Ethiopia, Britain's Daily Telegraph said Thursday.

The scientists said the fossil, which dates from around 10 million years ago, helps pin down the date when gorillas split from chimp-human stock -- at least 2 million years earlier than previously thought -- the newspaper said.

Gen Suwa of Tokyo University Museum said the molars "share key similarities" with those of a modern gorilla.

The report, published in the journal Science, said the teeth are those of a new species of fossil ape, dubbed Chororapithecus abyssinicus. It would be the earliest recognized primate directly related to gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: A new primate species at the root of the tree of extant hominoids

Related Stories

Shouldering the burden of evolution

September 8, 2015

As early humans increasingly left forests and utilized tools, they took an evolutionary step away from apes. But what this last common ancestor with apes looked like has remained unclear. A new study led by researchers at ...

Humans related to orangutans, not chimps

June 18, 2009

New evidence underscores the theory of human origin that suggests humans most likely share a common ancestor with orangutans, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh and the Buffalo Museum of Science. Reporting ...

Gorilla genome sequenced

March 7, 2012

The assembly of the gorilla genome was announced today, March 7, by a multi-national group of researchers. The gorilla is the last genus of the living great apes to have its genome decoded. While confirming that our closest ...

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.