Monday, April 28, 2008

Last Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans

Finding: Fossil Found In Europe, 1.2 Million Years Old

That's 500,000 years older than the previous oldest known humanlike fossils from the area. The new find bolsters the view that Homo reached Europe not long after leaving Africa almost 2 million years ago.

It seems probable that the first European population came from the region of the Near East, the true crossroads between Africa and Eurasia, and that it was related to the first demographic expansion out of Africa.

The researchers tentatively classified the new fossil as an earlier example Homo antecessor (Pioneer Man), the species represented by the previous oldest fossils and thought to be the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.

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