Saturday, January 01, 2011

Not out of Africa?

It's been pretty close to an article of faith among scientist that the anthropoids (monkeys, apes, and humans) first emergent in Africa. But fossils showing three primate families inhabited Libya 39MYA are being interpreted as indicating the primates may have been busily evolving elsewhere before this point and then moved into Africa - where they eventually produced humans. Christopher Beard, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History , points to a paucity of earlier African primate fossils and thinks these primates came from Eurasia and thrived on the new continent.
Beard has previously made this proposal on different evidence, the discovery in 2005 of a primate called Ganlea megacanina in Myanmar:

COMMENT: I'm not about to weigh in on whether Dr. Beard is right, but this does remind us how much is still to be learned about primate ancestry.

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