Two-Million-Year-Old Ear Could Tell Us About Us
As I see it, the middle ear's good for balance and not much else. But scientists have just discovered that the bones of the middle ear could provide huge clues about our evolution and how we developed as humans.
According to newswise.com, a team from the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M and Binghamtom University (the State University of New York), working with one from Spain, discovered this when they examined a skull believed to be almost 2 million years old, and found that the bones in the ear "together show a mixture of ape-like and human-like features, and represent the first time all three bones have been found together in one skull."
The middle ear appears to be very human-like, newswise.com reports, while other bones from the ear are more chimpanzee-like or ape-like.
"The discovery is important for two reasons,” Darryl de Ruiter of Texas A&M tells newswise.com. “First, ear ossicles are fully formed and adult-sized at birth, and they do not undergo any type of anatomical change in an individual lifetime. Thus, they are a very close representation of genetic expression."
The study could produce new, detailed information about how we all came about.