Claim human ancestors colonised Africa from Asia

AFRICA did not give birth to the ancestors of monkeys, apes and humans as is often believed, new research suggests.

Instead the earliest “anthropoids” colonised Africa from Asia, it is claimed.

New fossils discovered in central Libya and dating back 39 million years contain a surprising variety of species, say scientists.

They include three distinct families of anthropoid primates that lived in north Africa at about the same time.

Their sudden appearance can either be explained by a striking gap in the African fossil record, or colonisation from another continent.

Writing in the journal Nature, the experts said they believed migration from Asia to be the most plausible theory.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Beard, from the Carnegie Museum of National History in Pittsburgh, US, said: “If our ideas are correct, this early colonisation of Africa by anthropoids was a truly pivotal event — one of the key points in our evolutionary history.

“At the time, Africa was an island continent; when these anthropoids appeared, there was nothing on that island that could compete with them.

“It led to a period of flourishing evolutionary divergence amongst anthropoids, and one of those lineages resulted in humans.

“If our early anthropoid ancestors had not succeeded in migrating from Asia to Africa, we simply wouldn’t exist.”


Lifestyle

Four graduates tell Siobhan Howe how their fine art degree has influenced their approach to their working life.What use is a degree in fine art? Four graduates answer the question

Terry Gilliam tells Esther McCarthy about the mystery woman who helped him to finally get his Don Quixote film made after 30 yearsTerry Gilliam: Back in the saddle again

Twitch will no longer be the home of esports for Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone, with those games (and more) going to YouTube instead.Violence in the stream: Big changes for esports

That may say more about how the media treats flaws and beauty than it says about Alicia Keys herself, but nevertheless, it was refreshing at the time to see someone say no to the Hollywood expectations of beauty.The Skin Nerd: Unlocking Alicia Keys’ secrets to gorgeous skin

More From The Irish Examiner