Thursday, February 17, 2005
Common Ancestor to All Living Humans and Great Apes Found
Associated Press reports,"A nearly 13 million-year-old ape discovered in Spain is the last probable common ancestor to all living humans and great apes, a research team says in Friday's issue of Science magazine. A husband-and-wife team of fossil sleuths unearthed an animal with a body like an ape, fingers like a chimp and the upright posture of humans. The ancient ape bridges the gap between earlier, primitive animals and later, modern creatures. This newest ape species, Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, is so significant that it adds a new page to ancient human history. The researchers sidestepped a controversy raging through the field by not claiming their find moves great ape evolution — and the emergence of humans — from Africa to Europe. Salvador Moya-Sola, one of the Science paper co-authors, said the new ape species probably lived in both places. "