Scientists in Kenya have uncovered a preserved skull of Miocene Ape found in Africa in a perfect condition which used to exist around 23 billion years ago (the time before the apes and humans had separated their race).
James Rossie is the biological anthropologist working at State University, New York. She states that fossils can be extremely helpful but through comparisons. The absence of other Miocene ape skulls can be a little problematic to make conclusions.
Even though the skull is highly coveted, the skull is an infant ape. This, in turn, means that even though deciphering the common ancestors to humans and all the living apes could be possible, making complete concrete conclusions is way challenging.
THE MIOCENE SKULL
The skull was found in the Turkana Basin, North Kenya. The scientists claim to have found the skull without doing anything on their own. It was simply present there- uncovered and dirt-clogged. The fossil was then extracted from the rocky ground by the use of dental picks and brushes to avoid damaging the fossil.
The team wanted to perform proper analysis before jumping to conclusions.The skull was approximately 13 million years old when the scientists went on to measure the isotopes of argon in the Noble Gas Lab.
The new fossil ape made the scientists go back and observe the Kenyapithecus genus which was the category of the apes that had been previously taken as the key ancestor to the human line.
The analysis showed a more primitive looking species of Kenyapithecus within the new Equatorius genus which helped the researchers to draw connections between the Kenyapithecus species to the living humans and apes.
On comparing the Alesi fossil teeth and jaws to Kenyapithecus Africanus and Kenyapithecus Wickeri, they found the evidence of the fact that Kenyapithecus africanus was more primitive in nature while Kenyapethecus wickeri was more modern and ape like.
THE TUBES AND THE DEDUCTIONS
With the help of highly sensitive X-ray imaging in France, the team could measure the growth lines in the adult teeth of the fossil. This, in turn, told them that before facing death, Alesi (given name of the ape) was a year and 4 months old.
The size and shape of the tooth long with bony ear tubes in the skull gave strong evidence that Alesi is the evolutionary cousin in the ancestral line of apes from which the current apes and humans have been derived.