Sahelanthropus tchadensis dating techniques
Darwin was remarkably prescient when he wrote, in 1871 "The Descent of Man", that humans had evolved in Africa and were closely related to the great apes (gorilla, chimpanzee, and orang-utan).But at that time this view was anathema to many, since the majority of people still accepted the concept of special creation. Rather than accept the fossil as the remains of a human ancestor, the distinguished German scientist R.About 40 years ago, when the Monte Verde archaeological site in southern Chile was dated to 14,800 years ago, conventional ideas of American anthropology were turned on their heads.
Here they underwent another adaptive radiation, culminating in the divergence of ancestral chimp and hominid populations from their last common ancestor, 7 million years ago.
The emergence of material culture (stone tools and other artefacts) by 3.3 million years ago in eastern Africa allows the application of standard archaeological methods involving analyses of material items related to past behaviours.
After 2 million years ago, human evolution research includes the examination of the migration of our ancestors out of Africa (initially in Australia by at least 60,000 years ago.
The scientist Ernst Haeckel, for example, was convinced that humanity's nearest common ancestor was the orang-utan, and that humans evolved in Asia.
Though wrong in this, he was a persuasive writer and many people came to accept his view.