The missing link in evolution theory

A 10-million-year old jaw bone discovered in Kenya may have belonged to our common ancestor,Evolution
the one we share with our distant cousins in the zoo, gorillas and chimps. That common ancestor was a great ape, also known as great-great-great-great-grandpa.

The Kenyan and Japanese team found the fragment in 2005
along with 11 teeth in volcanic mud flow deposits in Kenya’s
northern Nakali region. [Link]

They found 11 teeth and a jaw fragment, but no sign whatsoever of a boxing ring.

The species — somewhere between the size of a female
gorilla and a female orangutan — may prove to be the "missing
link" in the evolution theory, Kenyan scientists said.

"Based on this particular discovery, we can comfortably say
we are approaching the point at which we can pin down the
so-called missing link," said Frederick Manthi, Senior Research
Scientist at the National Museums of Kenya. [Link]

Pin down the missing link? If that sounds familiar, you’re spending too much time watching the World Wrestling Federation.

Christened Nakalipithecus nakayamai, the new species fed on
nuts, seeds and fruit. [Link]

Nakalipithecus nakayamai is a pretty long name, but at least his close friends got to call him Nak Nak.

"The teeth were covered in thick enamel and the caps were
low and voluminous, suggesting that the diet of this ape
consisted of a considerable amount of hard objects, like nuts
or seeds, and fruit," Yutaka Kunimatsu at Kyoto University’s
Primate Research Institute said in a telephone interview. [Link]

The ape’s descendants have moved on to other hard things, such as hard candy and hard liquor.

Published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, the finding is significant as it
gives credence to the theory that the evolution from ape to man
may have taken place entirely in Africa.

Prior to this finding, there had been so little fossil
evidence in Africa dating between 7 to 13 million years ago
that some experts began to surmise that the last common
ancestor left Africa for Europe and Asia, and then returned
later. [Link]

Those were the good old days when Europe didn’t have strict immigration policies. Just about any ape could immigrate.

I’m not sure if Nak Nak left Africa and came back. We’ll have to see if archeologists manage to find his passport.

Photo by Kaptain Kobold

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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