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500,000-year-old chimpanzee fossil found

500,000-year-old chimpanzee fossil found

500,000-year-old chimpanzee fossil found
Rhett A. Butler,
September 6, 2005

Palaeontologists discovered the first known chimpanzee fossil while digging near Lake Baringo, Kenya.

The find is described in this week’s edition of Nature [1] although a summary of the article is available online.

The fossil teeth are estimated to be 500,000-year-old and will shed light on the evolutionary path that led to today’s chimpanzees.

Last week a team of scientists announced the sequencing of the chimp genome, which consists of roughly three billion base pairs of DNA code. Humans and chimps have evolved separately since splitting from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago, and their DNA remains highly similar. They are about 99 percent identical in regions the two species share, and about 96 percent identical if one also considers DNA stretches found in one species but not the other, researchers said.


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This article used information from a Reuters by Alistair Bell and another Reuters article, “Sexy posters to protect Mexico’s turtles,” posted on August 19, 2005.

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