Humanity’s earliest ancestors were found in England or more specifically, their teeth. They are considered to be the oldest forms of mammal fossils ever found.
In the summer of 2015, Grant Smith, then a University of Portsmouth undergraduate found the teeth after he sieved through 130 pounds of rock he picked from Dorset beach. He was later joined by David Martill, his advisor who thought the teeth to be mammalian. To be sure, however, they got ahold of mammal-tooth specialist, Steve Sweetman, to confirm the discovery.
Mammals are divided into three groups, the monotremes who lay eggs, marsupials, who have pouches, and placental mammals. The latter keep their offspring in placentas before being born. The diversity of placental mammals is overwhelming, with over four thousand species having been discovered until now, each one more different than the other.
Sweetman stated the teeth are more or less 145 million years old and they certainly belonged to eutherian mammals. These include species such as dogs, blue whales, elephants and, of course, humans.
„Eutherians are the group that led ultimately, evolutionarily, to the placental mammals, of which we’re one, as well as blue whales and pygmy shrews.”
The species was named Durlstotherium newmani after the owner of the nearest pub where the teeth were found, Charlie Newman.
Sweetman says there’s still a lot to be learned about eutherian mammals. Their origin is still a mystery but the author is certain they are our ancestors. He considers eutherian mammals to have been a previous step in the mammal evolution. He also believes the animals to have been nocturnal and could bury in the ground. The teeth also showed sturdiness capable of cutting and crushing food.
The man also noticed the teeth to be worn which suggests that their owners lived to reach a ripe old age. However, they do not belong to the same eutherian but to two rodents belonging to the same species.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons