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B14 Article.doc

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTB14H3
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Schellsi

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B14 ArticleMiocene ApesDuring the Miocene epoch as many as 100 species of apes roamed throughout the Old World New fossils suggest that the ones that gave rise to living great apes and humans evolved not in Africa but EurasiaCurrent fossil and genetic analyses indicate that the last common ancestor of humans and our closest living relative the chimpanzee surely arose in Africa around six million to eight million years agobetween 22 million and 55 million years ago a time known as the Miocene epoch apes ruled the primate worldby Darwins logic Eurasia is more likely than Africa to have been the birthplace of the family that encompasses great apes and humans the hominidsThe word hominoid encompasses all apesincluding gibbons and siamangsand humans Cuvier himself described what scholars would later identify as the first fossil primate ever named Adapis parisiensis Cuvier 1822 a lemur from the chalk mines of Paris that he mistook for an ungulate ungulates suchas pigs and antelopesfossil discoveries of the past two decades have rekindled intense interest in Eurasian fossil apes in large part because palaeontologists have at last recovered specimens complete enough to address what these animals looked like and how they are related to living apes and humans The fossil record suggests that living great apes and humans are descended from two ancient Eurasian ape lineages one represented by Sivapithecus from Asia the probable forebear of the orangutan and the other by Dryopithecus from Europe the likely ancestor of African apes and humansThe best known ape from this period is Proconsul exceptionally complete fossils of which have come from sites on Kenyas Rusinga IslandProconsul gives us a good idea of the anatomy and locom
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