Dental remains discovered by German paleontologists that were sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine River could possibly result in a "rewriting" of human history.
The fossilized remains of what are believed to be good ape teeth, an upper first molar and a upper puppy that is left, were found a bit over one year ago near the town of Eppelsheim in southwestern Germany.
"It's perfectly preserved. It really looks like a new tooth. It's shining like amber," Herbert Lutz, head of the excavation team and deputy museum manager in the Mainz Natural History Museum, told USA Today.
Lutz reported that the discovery is groundbreaking for its potential to change our understanding of how people migrated and developed in prehistoric times.
"I don't want to over-dramatize it, but I would hypothesize that we shall have to start studying the history of mankind later today," Mainz Mayor Michael Ebling told reporters during a press conference this week announcing the discovery, '' reports the Times of Israel.
According to researchers, our current understanding is that hominins, our extinct individual ancestors, left Africa about 120,000 years back. The discovered remains are older.
"We've similar finds just in East Africa...however they are only 2, 3, 4 or 5 million years old, and Eppelsheim is almost 10," said Matz. "So the question is: What's happened? Where this ape came from we do not know. We do not have similar finds from southern Europe."
Even though the scientist made the discovery in September 2016, they were so perplexed by what they had discovered they waited until this month to release a report about it.
As of this moment, it's not known in which the teeth fit in the family tree of humankind. But, Lutz and his team of researchers are just beginning to analyze their unique find.
"It's a complete mystery where this person came out, and why nobody has ever found a tooth like this somewhere before," Lutz said in an interview with ResearchGate, in which the report was printed.
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