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European human origin?  A video explaining the errors behind this – 09/30/2023 – Darwin Wallah

European human origin? A video explaining the errors behind this – 09/30/2023 – Darwin Wallah

In recent weeks, media from around the world have highlighted the discovery of the skull of… Turkish AnatoliaIt is an extinct primate about 9 million years old that lived in central Anatolia (present-day Turkey). The way the discovery was described leads people to understand that the fossil would be a direct ancestor of the current human lineage and would indicate that our ancestors were not Africans, but rather belonged to a group of European origin (later found in Turkish territory). .

But things are much more complicated than that. In realityHow do you say The same scientific material that describes the skullour friend a. Turkish Hominin, a name given to all members of the subfamily that includes past and present African great apes (i.e. chimpanzees, bonobos, and various types of gorillas), and the direct ancestors of the human lineage and modern humans.

The hypothesis defended by the authors of the article proposes that the hominin group (Homininae, in Latin) spent a large part of its evolutionary history on the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea, in Europe and the Near East, before returning to Africa. When European forests finally ceased to be suitable for primate survival. Thus, the separate trajectory of the human lineage remains largely African for at least the past seven million years.

The problem is that talking about a “human origin in Europe” is enough to reinforce old prejudices against Africa and, unfortunately, to arouse the anger of racists. That’s why I’m taking this opportunity, here on the blog, to recommend the video written by my friend and co-author, Brazilian paleontologist Pirola, one of the main scientific voices on Brazilian YouTube. He explains in detail all the evolutionary issues surrounding the fossil and takes the opportunity to show how a lack of interest in terminology and excitement can lead to interpretations of the worst kind. Check it out below.

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I had a small participation in the video, which dealt with the problems of scientific journalism in the context of crises.

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