COUNCIL CHRONICLE – Paleontologists recently discovered ancient teeth fossils as they were analyzing the site of a dried-up Rhine river bed in Germany. This discovery was touted by some as being a possible “gamechanger”, as the teeth seemingly don’t belong to any currently known species. However, other specialists were rather more skeptical about this latest find and its significance.
Ancient Teeth Fossils Like No Others
The fossilized teeth were discovered in a dried-up river bed, among sand and gravel. They were dated as being some 9.7 million years old, and to be bear resemblance to Lucy’s teeth. “Lucy” are the 3.2 million years old remains of a primate that is considered a cornerstone in the studies of human evolution.
Although similar to Lucy, the newly discovered ancient teeth are different from any other known species. Because of this, many say that this could “rewrite human history”. They claim so because it is also the first time scientists discovered teeth resembling those of hominins in Europe.
One of the discovered teeth, an upper right first molar, actually shares characteristics to other specimens discovered locally. However, an upper left canine, the other tooth shares similarities with the teeth of other hominins, like Lucy, discovered in other areas.
“They are clearly ape teeth. Their characteristics resemble African finds that are four to five million years younger than the fossils excavated in Eppelsheim,”
So these recently discovered teeth are not only older than most other fossils of their type found until now, they are located in an entirely different region.
Study Conclusions and Debates
The research team also considers that, although the teeth belonged to a single individual, this must have been part of a larger population.
Because of this, researchers point out that must be “holes” in science’s knowledge and understanding of the human evolution. They also consider that our fossil records are incomplete, and they are much larger than initially believed.
Still, some scientists are a little more skeptical when it comes to this latest discovery of ancient teeth fossils. Some believe that these are more likely to have belonged to hominoids, rather than hominins.
Other argue that the origin of these teeth is even farther apart than that, as they could go as far back as ploipithecoids.
However, there is still more research to be done before a conclusion can be reached. The team waited a year before releasing a study paper so that they could further analyze them, and the study itself is still ongoing, the latest news being part of just the initial research results.
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