Wednesday, April 21, 2010

11-Million-Year-Old Primate Discovered In Garbage Dump

primate fossilA garbage dump in Catalonia, Spain, has just yielded an eleven-million-year-old new primate, according to the science news service SINC.

Named Pliopithecus canmatensis, after the site (Can Mata in the Vallès-Penedès basin), the primate belonged to an extinct family of Old World monkeys, Catarrhini, which dispersed from Africa to Eurasia.

The scientists were able to ID the monkey from fragments of its jaw and molars.

The new species, according to the scientists, sheds light on the evolution of the superfamily Pliopithecoidea, primates that include animals that diverged before the separation of the two current superfamilies: the cercopithecoids (Old World monkeys) and the hominids (anthromorphs and humans). It thrived in Eurasia during the Early and Late Miocene, or between 23.5 and 5.3 million years ago.

Full story here.

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