Small team of researchers looking for Man's origins in a Bulgarian savannah

Seven million years ago the sunflower and corn fields in parts of southern Bulgaria were like an African savannah, roamed by gazelles and giraffes. And perhaps also, amazingly, by the oldest known human ancestor — which most scientists have hitherto believed came from Africa. A small team of researchers hopes to find proof of human origins in Bulgaria as they gingerly recover fossils from the clay of a dried-up river bed near the sleepy village of Rupkite in the June sunshine. It all began in 2002 when the five-year-old grandson of local amateur paleontologist Petar Popdimitrov found what looked like a fossilised tooth with three roots. “The whole of it was of a blue-greyish colour. It looked very worn out, especially the chewing surface. We thought that it was an animal one,” Popdimitrov, 76, told AFP. “But my son-in-law, who is a dentist, said in the evening that it might be human.” He might be right, in a way, and the discovery could be nothing short of momentous, potentially prov

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