A 9.7-million-year-old fossilised teeth were discovered in the former riverbed of the Rhine in Eppelsheim near Mainz, Germany. The teeth don’t appear to belong to any species discovered in Europe or Asia.
Analysis revealed that they are at least 4 million years older than the African skeletons of early hominin such as Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus, discovered in Ethiopia. Herbert Lutz of Naturhistorischen Museum Mainz stated that the specimen are clearly ape-teeth and their characteristics resemble African finds that are four to five million years younger than the fossils excavated in Eppelsheim. This discovery provides a great mystery for the researchers, that even made them hold publishing of the results for a year. This find has the potential to start the rewriting of the history of mankind. The teeth are still being examined in detail.
The teeth were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in the bed of the Ur-Rhine, the former course of the river Rhine. The area has been a hotbed of fossil remains since 1820, when the first ape fossils were found. Since 2001, 25 new species have been discovered. The teeth were found next to the remains of an extinct genus of horse, which helped to date the teeth.
(after Naturhistorischen Museum Mainz, Deutsche Presse-Agentur & Deutsche Welle)