Extremely Unexpected Find Means We May Have To Rewrite The Human Evolution Textbook Again

The teeth may be from a hominin-like animal, but could also be from an ape. Lutz etal. 2017

If this older figure is correct, then the dating of these hominin-like teeth would fit in with that. Yet there are other factors to take into consideration. Only earlier this year, researchers announced they had discovered what they believed to be fossil evidence of the last common ancestor between chimps and humans, which put the divergence at around 7.2 million years ago.

What is more interesting in this scenario, however, is that these fossils were discovered in Eastern Europe. This lines up nicely with the recent findings from Germany date-wise, but only if they are not hominin in origin. It is not unusual to find evidence of primates across Europe, and the author’s even note in their paper that while the size and dimensions of the newly discovered teeth are within those known for various Australopithecus species, they also fall within the range for female chimps, too.

If this is the case, then the 9.7-million-year-old teeth could simply be an as-yet unknown species of ape that was once living in the forests of ancient Germany. Of course, it could also turn out that the researchers are indeed correct with their initial understandings and this discovery instead completely rewrites what we thought we knew about human evolution. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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