Despite the trove of fossils of apes known to mankind, most stories of human origination are not consistent with them, a new review argues.
First publicized in the journal Science, experts with the American Museum of Natural History described what aspects of fossil apes are directly tied to human evolution and where major gaps are evident.
“When you look at the narrative for hominin origins, it’s just a big mess–there’s no consensus whatsoever,” said one of the paper’s authors at the American Museum of Natural History.
“People are working under completely different paradigms, and that’s something that I don’t see happening in other fields of science.” the author added.
According to the report, the authors recommended more research on exploring new areas where Miocene apes have not been located yet; and also methodological advances in morphology-based phylogenetics and paleoproteomics for more insight into molecular data far beyond primitive DNA limits.
“The fossil record indicates that living hominoids constitute narrow representatives of an ancient radiation of more widely distributed, diverse species, none of which exhibit the entire suite of locomotor adaptations present in the extant relatives,” the authors wrote in their findings.
“Hence, some modern ape similarities might have evolved in parallel in response to similar selection pressures. Current evidence suggests that hominins originated in Africa from Miocene ape ancestors unlike any living species.”