In just five decades, an experiment in Russia has accomplished something that took ancient humans thousands of years.On a farm in Novosibirsk, Russian geneticist Dmitry K.Apes became largely confined to Africa, splitting there into gorillas, chimpanzees and humans.At least, that’s what most researchers think happened.
“This condition is so far only known to occur regularly in hominins – pre-humans and humans,” Spassov says.
For example, their adrenal glands are not as active, but they have higher levels of serotonin.
Serotonin likely plays a role in mediating aggressive behavior, writes Trut.
Spassov and his colleagues – including Madelaine Böhme at the University of Tübingen in Germany and David Begun at the University of Toronto, Canada – now think the tooth belongs to an ape called is known from just one fossil jawbone found near Athens in 1944.
The fossil was reportedly unearthed as the occupying German forces were building a wartime bunker – although Spassov says the exact details of the story are unclear. This is not helped by the fact that the Greek jawbone – nicknamed El Graeco – has a heavily worn surface.