It was between 5 and 7 million years ago, the most recent common ancestor of humans and their closest ape relatives — the chimpanzees, lived. Scientists at Arizona State and Penn State Universities have proposed these new limits on the time. Compared to that given by the previous collection of molecular and fossil studies, this finding is a sharper focus. This has placed the divergence anywhere from 3 to 13 million years ago.
As the interpretation of the earliest fossils of humans at the ape/human boundary is controversial, Gene studies are needed to address this problem, as almost no fossils of chimpanzees have been discovered.
“No study before has taken into account all of the error involved in estimating time with the molecular-clock method,” said Sudhir Kumar, lead author on the report, which was published early online in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team describes its new statistical technique as a “multifactor bootstrap-resampling approach.”
Via: Science Daily