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,;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7267/ published in this week's issue of Nature, challenges the linkurl:claim;http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005723 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.
"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,;http://www.carnegiemnh.org/vp/cv/beard.htm 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,;http://www.anat.stonybrook.edu/eseiffert/people.html a paleontologist at Stony Brook University...
Image: Erik Seiffert et al, Nature 2009
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within the primate family tree
Image: E.R.Seiffert, Stony Brook University
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