|Smirking gorilla image credit: Freeimages / brandon moats|
How much time separated the origin of gorillas and chimpanzees? Enquiring evolutionary minds want to know! Why? Because they think humans share the chimp branch of the evolutionary tree of life, and they want to know how long it took for humanity’s uniqueness to evolve.To read the rest of the article, click on 'The Gorilla-Human “Split”: Where Do Gorillas Hang On Our Family Tree?'
Evolutionary opinions about how long each step in this process took have varied greatly. Even where they took place has been hotly debated, thanks to the dearth of ancient African gorilla fossils. The 8-million-year age now assigned to nine fairly modern-looking gorilla teeth found in Ethiopia’s Afar Rift, reported in Nature in February 2016, has fueled the suggestion that the chimpanzee-human branch diverged from its lineage shared with gorillas much earlier than previously thought—and that it did so in Africa.