August 2nd, 2011
09:52 AM ET

Ancient ape skull found in Uganda

Scientists say they have found a 20 million-year-old fossil of an ape skull in Uganda.

A team of French and Ugandan paleontologists found the skull at a site called Napak XV, said team leader Martin Pickford, according to the news site The Hindu.

"This is the first time that the complete skull of an ape of this age has been found. ... (I)t is a highly important fossil and it will certainly put Uganda on the map in terms of the scientific world," Pickford said Tuesday in Kampala, according to France's

The skull belonged to a male Ugandapithecus major, an ancestor of today's great apes.

The expedition was led by Pickford, of the Collège de France in Paris, and professor Brigitte Senut of the Paris-based National Museum of Natural History, reported Uganda's New Vision website.

The discovery will enhance understanding of the development of apes and humans, the scientists said.

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Filed under: Animals • France • Science • Uganda
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    See? Just like you said: He's baaack!

    August 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. the bible

    The church doesn't follow nor agree with the bible either, so quoting what the church did or didn't do does not change what has already been written. The bible isn't the one saying that the earth is the center of the universe, it's the church who spewed that lie and enforced it. Why blame God for what the hypocrites do in his name? Why not read and study his word for yourself rather than basing your views on what some child molesting priest says about it? The "proof" is in the bible, if you can spare the time to find it.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Bible: there is not much "proof" in the Bible. There's much wisdom written there ("treat others as you would like to be treated," "honor your father and your mother," "don't murder each other," etc.), but no much proof of anything. That's why religion is known as a belief system, not a knowledge system. We know we live on Earth, we know the Earth orbits the sun. The only things we can take as proof in the Bible are things that we can prove in the real world, such as the fact that the Roman Empire was in control of Israel 2000 years ago. But something like Noah's Ark? No proof. A talking snake tricked a human into eating a piece of forbidden fruit? No proof, and it sounds very unlikely, to say the least. We have to accept that the Bible is a collection of stories, some true, some not true. And human beings decided which stories would be included and which stories would be excluded from the Bible. And humans are fallible. We have abundant proof of that.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. the bible

    @Joshua...they understood that you were made out of dirt long before the periodic table of elements was even thought of. They also knew that "the earth is a sphere hanging upon nothing" when scientists were teaching that it was an hemisphere riding on the backs of four giant elephants...centuries before modern science finally agreed with the bible's description. Men are made of dirt and the earth is a sphere...two things that simple bible students understood long before anyone else figured it out.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      please site this. because I can site thousands of articles of history that completely disagrees with you.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Bible: no scientist ever said the Earth was on a giant animal's back. Scientists rely on objective evidence and demonstrable, repeatable experimentation. Science is based on rational thought. It's a relatively new human pursuit, not nearly as old as religion, which is based on stories passed down from generation to generation. If we take the Book of Genesis literally, there was a time when snakes could speak to humans, and all snakes were punished because one snake had tricked a human into eating a piece of fruit.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. the bible

    @Madame Royale~...easy. Coffins have a preserving quality. This ancient skull was somehow preserved. We have giant wooly mammoth's preserved intact...even the food in their mouths was preserved by freezing temperatures. Without being preserved, it turns to dust again.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Bible: the ancient skull is a fossil, not the original skull. It's made of stone, not bone. That's why it lasted 20 million years.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Madame Royale

    What I believe or disbelieve is between God and myself.


    August 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Madame Royale

    Not to mention, coffins break down waaaaaaay faster than bones do.
    But I didn't mention it.
    Relax, Thumper.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raven

    I think its somewhat of a miracle that evidence of a creature that lived 20m years ago even exists. Maybe its just a generic miracle tho,not necessarily a divine one?

    August 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Raven: it's a fossil. not a miracle. The process of fossilization replaces organic material with minerals, so bone is replicated as stone. This is a stone skull, not bone.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. coffins

    Some coffins are made out of stainless steel. Staimless steel lasts longer than bones, but even staimless steel turns back to dust eventually. Not to mention Egyptian mummies.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      Dust is made from human skin. I'm not seeing how steel breaks down into dried organic matter.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Madame Royale

    raven, sista!
    How's e.l.t.?

    Yep, that coffin the ape was buried in was surely made of miracle material, eh?

    August 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gert

    You mean *stainless* steel, coffins?
    Not sure I've ever heard of 'staimless' steel...

    August 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gert

    You mean 'stainless' steel, don't you, coffins? I've never heard of 'staimless' steel.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Madame Royale


    Egyptian mummies are considerably less old than 20 million years.
    What's your point?

    August 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Madame Royale

    ....and that snake will end up on somebody's windshield...

    August 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Madame Royale

    @Alex Gessong:

    Well, that makes perfect sense.
    Thank you!

    August 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alex Gessong

    It's a fossil skull, not an original. Fossil means it's made of stone. That's why it endured for 20 million years. No magic coffin, no miracle, just plain old fossilization.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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