MadSci Network: Evolution

Subject: Did the Rift Valley separate the apes from the humans?

Date: Tue Oct 10 14:18:44 2000
Posted by Matt Schick
Grade level: teacher/prof School: Saint Ann's School
City: Brooklyn State/Province: NY Country: USA
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 971201924.Ev

I've read that the Great Rift Valley appeared about 7 million years ago, 
separating the eastern portion of Africa from the western part. This 
geographical change caused the eastern part to become a drier, more 
savannah-like climate while the western part remained tropical. The 
divergence of the would-be great apes and the would-be humans occured around 
this time (7 million years ago). Did the appearance of the Rift Valley cause 
this divergence? Did human ancestors evolve (from the common ape/human 
ancestor) on the eastern side of the drift, isolated from the western 
primates that eventually became the great apes?

Re: Did the Rift Valley separate the apes from the humans?

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