Two new species of ancient primates discovered in the United States: they resemble lemurs

By Jurassic JennMar 28, 2024 15:01 PMScience
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Two new species of ancient primates discovered
Two new species of ancient primates discovered. Source: www.natureworldnews.com

Fossils from the Tornillo Basin in West Texas and Vinta in Utah have allowed scientists to identify two new species of primates that resemble lemurs. These are omomyids, a family of early small-bodied primates from the Eocene era. SSPDaily tells about it

The discovery was made by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Des Moines in Iowa, and Arizona Midwestern University. The study was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Since the primate fossils were first discovered in North America in the 1860s, only a few specimens from the late Middle Eocene of Texas and Utah have been described, as previous authors have been unable to agree on whether one, two or three genera are represented," said Chris Kirk, professor of anthropology at the University of Texas and first author of the paper.

According to him, omids originally had a body weight of less than 500 grams, but by the end of the Middle Eocene, some of them had doubled in size. The two newly identified species - from the genera Ourayia and Mytonius - are at the larger end of the spectrum. They probably fed on fruits and leaves.

Both new species are apparently endemic to the Tornillo Basin and from primate fossils living in other parts of North America.

This feature of the West Texas primate community suggests that they evolved, at least privately, in isolation, perhaps with relatively few opportunities for migration or gene flow with primate communities living in other parts of North America at the same time. Bands may also have adapted to local environmental conditions," Crick added.

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