An analysis of 37 million year old primate fossils is fueling a debate over the existence of an evolutionary link between lemur-like and monkey-like primates -- a link that could more fully explain human evolution. The linkurl:study,; published in this week's issue of Nature, challenges the linkurl:claim; that Darwinius -- a rare, almost-complete skeleton whose unveiling caused a media firestorm last May -- is the possible stem species to today's anthropoid primates, which include monkeys, apes, and humans.
Teeth and jaw remains of
Afradapis longicristatus

Image: Erik Seiffert et al, Nature 2009
"The paper is the first thorough, systematic treatment of the question" of whether there is an ancestral connection between the two primate subgroups, said linkurl:Chris Beard,; chair of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, who was not involved with the research. The new Nature paper, by linkurl:Erik Seiffert,; a paleontologist at Stony Brook University...
Afradapis longicristatusDarwiniusAfradapisDarwiniusAfradapisAfradapisAfradapisAfradapisDarwiniusDarwinius
Proposed placement of Afradapis and Darwinius
within the primate family tree

Image: E.R.Seiffert, Stony Brook University
DarwiniusPLoSDarwiniusThe TimesThe LinkDarwiniusDarwiniusPLoSAfradapisDarwiniusAfradapisAfradapisDarwiniusDarwiniusThe ScientistDarwiniusAfradapisAfradapis

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?