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, 21 (1), 10-23

European Miocene Hominids and the Origin of the African Ape and Human Clade


European Miocene Hominids and the Origin of the African Ape and Human Clade

David R Begun et al. Evol Anthropol.


In 1871, Darwin famously opined, "In each great region of the world the living mammals are closely related to the extinct species of the same region. It is therefore probable that Africa was formerly inhabited by extinct apes closely allied to the gorilla and chimpanzee; and as these two species are now man's nearest allies, it is somewhat more probable that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere." Although this quote is frequently recalled today, Darwin's next line is rarely acknowledged: "But it is useless to speculate on this subject, for an ape nearly as large as a man, namely the Dryopithecus of Lartet, which was closely allied to the anthropomorphous Hylobates, existed in Europe during the Upper Miocene period; and since so remote a period the earth has certainly undergone many great revolutions, and there has been ample time for migration on the largest scale."

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