By Jeff Hecht
Hold that rewrite of the textbook view of human evolution. Two 9.7-million-year-old fossil teeth from Germany probably did not come from a previously unknown European root of the human lineage, as heralded in headlines over the last few days. There remains no hard evidence that our hominin ancestors originated anywhere but Africa.
Reports went viral over the weekend that Herbert Lutz at the Museum of Natural History in Mainz, Germany, had discovered a previously unknown European species of ape that had human-like teeth millions of years before African species did.
The story came to light in an unusual way. So far, Lutz’s paper has not been published in a scientific journal, but only on the website ResearchGate that some scientists use to share their papers. On Friday, ResearchGate distributed a press release that included an interview with Lutz and a link to a paper that has not yet been published in a journalbut was “being published in advance due to the importance of the fossils described”.
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