New Ape May Be Human-Gorilla Ancestor
A ten-million-year-old jawbone recently unearthed in Kenya may have come from the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans, researchers say.
The find also helps refute a theory that the apes that eventually gave rise to humans left Africa for Asia and Europe, only to return much later, as many experts have hypothesized.
The jaw was found at Nakali, Kenya, on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, along with incisor, canine, and molar teeth.
The teeth are so different from previous finds that researchers placed the creature, named Nakalipithecus nakayamai, in a new hominid genus.
Hominids are part of a broad family of primates that includes Africa's chimpanzees and gorillas and Southeast Asia's orangutans. The group also includes our own genus, Homo, and the extinct Australopithecus.