The lower jaw of the 7.175 million-year-old Graecopithecus freybergi (El Graeco) from Pyrgos Vassilissis, Greece (today in metropolitan Athens).

7.2 million-Year-Old Pre-Human Fossil Suggests Mankind Arose in Europe NOT Africa


A new analysis of two 7.2 million-year-old fossils belonging to a hominin species nicknamed “El Graeco” from Mediterranean Europe, suggests that mankind emerged in Europe and not in Africa. The new study could reshape history, since it openly challenges the “out of Africa theory.”

The Out of Africa Theory in Serious Doubt

When an ancient, toothy lower jaw was discovered back in 1944 in Pyrgos Vassilissis, Greece, nobody really paid attention to the fossil as the casualties in Greece from World War II were so catastrophic that the extremely significant discovery was literally ignored by most anthropologists.

A mix of hominid (genus Homo) depictions; (from right to left) H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus; H. antecessor - male, female, H. heidelbergensis; H. neanderthalensis - girl, male, H. sapiens sapiens.

A mix of hominid (genus Homo) depictions; (from right to left) H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus; H. antecessor - male, female, H. heidelbergensis; H. neanderthalensis - girl, male, H. sapiens sapiens. Public Domain

When it comes to modern human’s origins, the “Out of Africa” hypothesis has remained the dominant theory for decades, which suggests that every living human being is descended from a small group in Africa, who then dispersed into the wider world displacing earlier forms such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. However, according to Sky News reports, the birthplace of modern human beings may have been the eastern Mediterranean and not Africa, as an international team of scientists studying the ancient fossils of a tooth and lower jawbone, now suggest.

Studied specimens and virtual reconstructions of the holotype of Graecopithecus. *

Studied specimens and virtual reconstructions of the holotype of Graecopithecus. * (Credit: Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe)

El Graeco Appears to be the Oldest Known Pre-Human in History

In 2012, the ancient jaw bone was joined by a fossilized premolar tooth uncovered in Azmaka, Bulgaria. Scientists suggest that the remains belonged to an ape-like creature, Graecopithecus freybergi, which is now believed to be the oldest known pre-human, dating back as far as 7.2 million years. With the help of micro-computed tomography and 3D reconstructions of the roots and internal structure of the fossilized teeth, the researchers discovered distinctive features of contemporary humans and their early ancestors.

A 7.24 million-year-old upper premolar of Graecopithecus from Azmaka, Bulgaria.

A 7.24 million-year-old upper premolar of Graecopithecus from Azmaka, Bulgaria. (Photo: Wolfgang Gerber, University of Tübingen)

Project director Madelaine Böhme of the Senckengberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, co-author Nikolai Spassov from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and their colleagues examined both the Pyrgos fossil and the related upper premolar tooth. “El Graeco is the oldest known potential hominin. He is several hundred thousand years older than the oldest potential pre-human from Africa: 6–7-million-year-old Sahelanthropus from Chad,” Spassov stated as Seeker reports

Computer Tomography Shows Human-Like Features

Anthropologists refer to “El Graeco” as hominin or pre-human for now, because the last common ancestor of modern humans and chimps retained both non-human primate and human characteristics. However, with the help of computer tomography, Böhme and her colleagues noticed that El Graeco’s features were evolving into more like modern human-like forms,

“While great apes typically have two or three separate and diverging roots. The roots of Graecopithecus converge and are partially fused — a feature that is characteristic of modern humans, early humans and several pre-humans including Ardipithecus and Australopithecus,” Böhme said in a statement as Seeker reports

Root morphology in P4 of cf. Graecopithecus sp. and O. macedoniensis.

Root morphology in P4 of cf. Graecopithecus sp. and O. macedoniensis. (Credit: Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe)

Furthermore, one of the researchers, David Begun from the University of Toronto, believes that if we move Graecopithecus to our own line, then mankind’s history could be re-written. "If this is indeed a human, it would be the oldest human ancestor known and the first to be identified outside of Africa. Ever since Darwin, conventional wisdom is that the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans lived in Africa. Our research shows that the earliest humans may have evolved in Europe," he tells Science Alert.

El Graeco’s Descendants May Have Migrated to Africa

Although, Böhme appears to be confident that El Graeco’s ancestors are Eurasian hominines, such as Ouraanopithecus from Greece, she and her team are not ruling out the scenario that some of his descendants possibly migrated to Africa at some point. Of course, they consider it most possible that several of his descendants, as well as other early pre-humans, remained in the Mediterranean and spread throughout Europe and Asia. If this theory is true, then it’s very possible that his descendants could have evolved into Neanderthals, Denisovans, and the other early humans known from these geographical areas that are directly related to people of European and Asian origin nowadays.

The only sure thing is that if more evidence confirms such theories in the near future, human history as we know it today would drastically change. As Spassov tells Seeker, “Our new hypothesis is a smoking gun.”

Top Image: The lower jaw of the 7.175 million-year-old Graecopithecus freybergi (El Graeco) from Pyrgos Vassilissis, Greece (today in metropolitan Athens). (Photo: Wolfgang Gerber, University of Tübingen)

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Comments

It's always interesting when new thoughts forcefully redirect the origins of mankind towards Eurocentric initiation. Why is the African origin of humanity such a problem for European narratives? I don't expect true anthropological historical expertise from a legal background but at least recognize the noticeable inconsistencies between what is felt and what is proven.

Did you notice that because of the age of the remains in the article, they would not have been from humans? They would have been from another kind of hominid that existed long before humans.

Quote: "It's always interesting when new thoughts forcefully redirect the origins of mankind towards Eurocentric initiation."

And to me it's always interesting how people always make up stories about that everything is Eurocentric.
Can't you see that the oldest so far evidences of our human past in Africa is dated to 6.7 milion years old, and that the oldest so far evidence outside of Africa was around 2 to 3 million years old. And thus that if these 2 evidences in Greece (jaw) and Bulgaria (premolar) are dated to 7.2 million years old which shows that these are older than those in Africa, then this is simply a scientific conclusion you can base on observation and analysis.
May I honestly ask. Are you African? Because it would certainly explain your answer.
Enfin. This revolutionary find won't change the fact that humans for a good part evolved within Africa, but that the humans originally came from Europe in the Mediterranean. And this might not even be that strange. All the animals that you now find in Africa are from Europe from the Messinian age (the same age that these 2 evidences are dated to). So if these animals migrated to Africa, it might possibly be that humans did too.

I'm pretty sure that the Mediterranean Sea didn't exist 7 million years ago. I think it was a dry basin and that the Straits of Gibralter were plugged. I think part of this plug collapsed about 6 million years ago and the 'Atlantic' flowed in filling the basin over a hundred year period. (Which is why dwarf hippos were found on Crete when humans first arrived - can't remember when - about five thousand years ago.) This would mean that Africa and Europe were joined and both animals and hominids could move freely. "Africa' and 'Europe' did not exist as seperate land masses. To be imputing racial significance to 7 million year old hominids is pretty bloody stupid.
We now know of five human types still alive in the last 100.000 years. Aboriginal and New Guinean DNA suggests that maybe 10 additional different types of yet unidentified human lines existed, all of which must have seperated less than a million years ago or they would be completely different species and we would have no genetic trace of them. Probably they were very close to us. The jawbone in this article is over 7 million years old. How many different hominids may have existed at this time? Could be dozens - just look at the monkey family? Why would you assume that this hominid even contributed to the genetic line of homo sapiens sapiens?
All that's happened is that a hominid jawbone has been found in Europe. Several have also been found in Asia. All we can safely know is that the human story will be more complex, suprising and exciting than anything we can imagine. As THINGS STAND we all came from Africa but if it turns out that 7 million years ago a hominid, who contributed some genes to us, stood of a rock that would later be called Malta and said to his mates 'South looks good' what's this got to do with race?

Why do you refer to "such a problem" in the original article. There is no problem, just new evidence on human origins has been found which challenges current theories. You seem to be implying some racial motives in the science. These new findings are not "European narratives", only discussion of implications about findings of evidence located in Europe. And the age of these findings.
You then snidely impugn the author's background, which has zero relevance to the findings. You suggest possible "noticeable inconsistencies between what is felt and what is proven" but fail to explain what you mean or what these are. So your supposed superior insight into all this is only vaguely hinted at but otherwise kept secret from the unworthy. Stinks of political correctness, not science or intelligent discussion.

The question is; when and how the human degeneration begin and after Homo Sapiens appeared the Homo Politicus with the homo demolition militarus bombardus post democraticus !

"evolved into Neanderthals, Denisovans, and the other early humans " LOL! Yes all 22 structural changes happen at one time - no intermediate links or anything. LOL again. Miracle after miracle and not a God in sight.

Religion has nothing to do with it.

God and religion are not the same thing, as the baby and the bathwater are not the same thing.

Granted, most who talk of "God", reference a particular perception of who/what "God" is, and often that is in connection to a religion... yet many have seen beyond the religions and perceived a state of being that is pre-eminent to a human notion of "God".

As soon as s'thing new is discovered in Greece that restores the truth, it is immediately attacked or scorned. Why should we believe a theory stated by the same people who wanted Athena-the Goddess being black? Moreover, it was in Halkidiki, Greece that the oldest human skeleton was discovered and which was dated 700,000 years old.

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