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2002. Gerard jay linskey. A polish geological institute paleontologist was enjoying a holiday on the the greek mediterranean island of crete while he was there.
Joel insky. Decided to explore village of trek kilos on the coast near the town of key cymose and during that visit he stumbled across a mysterious scent of some fifty footprints imprinted on the rocky beach at the time he categorized the footprints simply is mammalian. But subsequent studies of them led to conclusions that in scientific terms are incendiary.
It was 2010. Before jelinski and a colleague returned to turkey lowes to examine the footprints in fact and several more years passed before they published. A paper outlining.
What they learned one important finding that the 2017 paper included was the age of the. Footprints a staggering 57. Million years the age of the footprints had been established by analyzing tiny fossils in the rocks called forum minnie farah.
These tests can provide an accurate dating of sedimentary layers of rock and those particular foot prints laid just below a layer created 56. Million years ago when the mediterranean sea completely disappeared for a time. Although remarkable the age of the prince was uncontroversial.
But what did prove to be extremely contentious worthy conclusions that the paper made about what animal had made the footprints. The scientists reported that there were two tracks and that theyd been made by a creature that walked on two legs and stood vertically and this information led the scientists to make the controversial claim that the animals that had walked on these sediments 57. Million years ago were homonyms this is the modern term that scientists used to describe all types of humans and their immediate ancestors including those that are now extinct neanderthals for example are classed is.
Common but why is this identification of 57. Million year old homonym footprints on a cretan beach. So controversial well the answer to that lies in the overwhelming consensus about the emergence of homo sapiens.
Thats held sway for decades in the world of paleoanthropology. The accepted scientific theory of human evolution is that we evolved in africa and spread out from there across europe asia and ultimately the rest of the world ever since quarry workers in south. Africa discovered a fossilized skull with humanoid features in 1924.
Its been believed that all modern humans can ultimately trace their lineage back to africa and these early pre humans are known as australopithecus africanus. Subsequent discoveries of other hominid fossils especially in east africa added to the scientific evidence supporting the out of africa theory. Neat like thole site in tanzania for example yielded footprints of a homonym which was dated to 36.
Million years ago. These footprints closely resembled those of modern humans. This is the earliest instance of bipedal hominids.
So far found. Other fossil discoveries were made at hadar in ethiopia. And the early human type species.
There and debt like thole have been given the name australopithecus afarensis. Some 300 specimens of the species have now been found in africa. And they live between 3 and 4 million years ago in fact they were around for at least 900 thousand years.
A lot longer than homo sapiens has been the footprints found on the tri kilo. Speech have been dated to 57. Million years ago.
However and therein lies the controversy previously its been believed that homonyms first left africa much later than that but if thats the case. Then how did these footprints appear on the cretan coast in fact accepted scientific theory puts the time of the first migration by our human ancestors from africa at some two million years ago for instance a homonym species called homo ergaster was in eurasia by about 17. Million years and around the same time homo erectus had settled in southeast asia.
But that of course is nearly four million years later than the true kilos footprints found by girl in ski in 2002. Even if we accept that the dating is correct. Which with modern techniques seems likely to be the case.
How do we know that these footprints were made by early ancestors of the human race well the evidence lies in the shape of the prints. The first sign that these cretan prints could belong to our homonym ancestors is that the creatures that made them clearly walked on the soles of their feet rather than on their toes. Moreover.
The impressions on the toes in the sedimentary rocks also hold vital clues. There are clearly five toes in the footprints and one of those is more developed than the others. Just like the big toe.
That modern humans have as well as that theres no sign of claw marks. Which indicate that these creatures had toenails rather than claws however the shape of the footprints does not necessarily provide conclusive evidence that the animals who made the more homonyms. An alternative view of the prints posits that they could belong to an ape not one of the homonyms related to us this theory suggests that the creatures perhaps walked upright.
Only occasionally and theres a wealth of archaeological evidence showing that there were apes living in europe around the same time. As the footprints were created and crete in fact. The fossil record for great apes stretches back 13 million years to an extinct species called pierre olap effects the bones of this species.
Which were discovered in spain show that it may have been able to walk upright. In an article in the conversation. Matthew robert barnett and albergue two of the team that published the trek kilos paper wrote.
If and for many its a big if the tracks of turkey lows were indeed made by an early human ancestor then the bio geographical range of our early ancestors would increase to encompass the eastern mediterranean and benetton albergue went on to point out that earlier in 2017. Another paper described possible. Homonym fossil teeth discovered in greece.
And bulgaria that were said to be 7 million years old these teeth. That was suggested could show that humans started to evolve in europe. Hundreds of millennia before they did in africa.
Bennett and albergues say theyre skeptical of this claim. However which would turn current human evolution theory on its head. But the two scientists do believe that all of this evidence could be an example of the well documented phenomena of divergent evolution.
They described this as two unrelated animals developing similar anatomical. Features as adaptions to a particular lifestyle. In other words.
The teeth and feet may belong to animals not actually part of the human lineage. So these european discoveries suggest a possible homonym presence earlier than that so far found in africa. Nonetheless.
The evidence is certainly not convinced. Most scientists that we need to rewrite our textbooks. Yet and perhaps.
It never will and that wont stop it from being talked about however as professor albergue told psy news. This discovery challenges. The established narrative of early human evolution head on and is likely to generate a lot of debate.
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