Friday, October 29, 2010

[Geology2] Mouse-Sized Primates Shed Light on Human Origins

Mouse-Sized Primates Shed Light on Human Origins

Tiny primate teeth discovered in the Sahara Desert may illuminate our
humble beginnings as creatures the size of mice. The 39-million-year-old
fossils belong to a subgroup of primates known as anthropoids, which
monkeys, apes, and humans.

Researchers say the find indicates that our ancient ancestors were
entrenched in Africa earlier than expected and that
they didn't begin to get larger until well after they had moved to
Africa and
adapted to new environments there.

Researchers once thought that the first anthropoids arose in Africa.
That's because for many years the earliest fossils of universally
anthropoids came from 37-million-year-old fossil beds in the Fayum
region of

But over the past 16 years, scientists have discovered tiny primates in
Asia that many think are the earliest known anthropoids, such as the
45-million-year-old Eosimias from Myanmar, says paleontologist
Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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