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Human Ancestors Evolved in Europe
A brand-new analysis of fossils recovered in the 1990’s in the village of Nikiti, northern Greece, supports the controversial idea that the apes which gave rise to humans evolved in south-eastern Europe and not in Africa.
The 8 or 9-million-year-old fossils had first been linked to the extinct ape called Ouranopithecus. However, a team led by David Begun from the University of Toronto’s Department of Anthropology has recently analyzed the remains and has determined that they likely belonged to a male animal from a potentially new species.
While Begun does not believe the Nikiti ape was a hominin, he speculates that it could represent the group from which hominins directly evolved.
The research team led by Begun had determined in 2017 that a 7.2-million-year-old ape called Graecopithecus, which also lived in what is now Greece, could possibly be a hominin. In this case, the 8 to 9-million-year-old Nikiti ape would have directly preceded the first hominin, Graecopithecus, before hominins migrated to Africa 7 million years ago.
According to a report in the journal New Scientist, Begun foresees that this new concept will be rejected by many experts who believe in African hominin origins, but he hopes that the new scenario will at least be considered.
Begun presented the research last month at a conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Charles Darwin proposed in 1871 that all hominins, including both modern and extinct humans, descended from a group in Africa, and this is the most widely accepted theory today.
On the other hand, Darwin also speculated that hominins could also have originated in Europe, where fossils of large apes had already been discovered, and the new analysis supports this theory.
Cyprus’ Serial Killer Confesses to Seven Murders
A 35-year-old Greek-Cypriot army officer has reportedly, so far, confessed to murdering seven women and girls in what local media have called the island’s "first serial killings."
Two bodies were found in a mine shaft earlier this month and a third one was found on Thursday.
Cypriot media have identified the suspect as Nicos Metaxas. They are reporting that among his victims are three Filipino women, including and the daughter of one. There is also another woman either from India or Nepal, who died last summer, as well as a woman from Romania and her daughter.
Investigators found the third woman’s body on Thursday after the suspect led them to the spot where he is alleged to have left it, in a field near the capital of Nicosia.
The 35-year old officer admitted that he had had sexual intercourse with the woman, and afterward, he had strangled her to death.
The suspect is reported to have met the victim, who disappeared in December 2017, on a dating website.
The police now believes that the officer, who was a well-known photographer as well, might have killed many more unfortunate women, who have been missing for years.
The only body which has been positively identified at this point is that of Mary Rose Tiburcio, 39, a Filipino national.
Cases of missing Filipino nationals are now reopening on Cyprus. The authorities fear that the National Guard officer was nothing more than a serial killer who could have committed multiple murders for several years, without anyone remotely suspecting the extent of the crime.
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