Graecopithecus

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Graecopithecus freybergi
Temporal range: Late Miocene
Graecopithecus (from PLoS ONE).jpg
Holotype jaw and premolar
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Tribe: Homininae
Subtribe: Hominini
Genus: Graecopithecus
von Koenigswald, 1972
Species: G. freybergi
Binomial name
Graecopithecus freybergi
von Koenigswald, 1972[1][2]

Graecopithecus freybergi is a hominid originally identified by a single mandible found in 1944. Since then, analysis of tooth specimens has led to suggestions that Graecopithecus may be the oldest known direct ancestor of modern man,[3][4] though the claim is contested.[5]

Tooth

The original Graecopithecus specimen mandible found in 1944, "reportedly unearthed as the occupying German forces were building a wartime bunker".[5] The mandible with a third molar that is very worn, the root of a second molar, and a fragment of a premolar is from a site called Pyrgos Vassilissis northwest of Athens[6][7] and is dated from the late Miocene. Excavation of the site is not possible (as of 1986) due to the owner having built a swimming pool on the location.[8]

G. freybergi is considered possibly the same as Ouranopithecus macedoniensis.[9][10][6] The hominid is the least well known of those found within Europe.[11]

An examination of the detailed morphology of molar teeth from two fossils of G. freybergi published in 2017[12] suggests that it may be a hominin, that is sharing ancestry with Homo but not with the Chimpanzees (Pan). This would call into question the prevailing belief that pre-human hominids originated in Africa, though others are sceptical of the claims.[5][13]

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