Scientists Discover Oldest Primate Skeleton

After Big Bang

An international team of paleontologists that includes Northern Illinois University anthropologist Dan Gebo is announcing the discovery of a nearly complete, articulated skeleton of a new tiny, tree-dwelling primate dating back 55 million years.

The Eocene Epoch fossil was recovered from Hubei Province in central China.

“This is the oldest primate skeleton of this quality and completeness ever discovered and one of the most primitive primate fossils ever documented,” Gebo said. “The origin of primates sets the first milestone for all primate lineages, including that of humanity.

“Although scientists have found primate teeth, jaws, occasionally skulls or a few limb bones from this time period, none of this evidence is as complete as this new skeleton from China,” Gebo added. “With completeness comes more information and better evidence for the adaptive and evolutionary themes concerning primate evolution. It takes guessing out of the game.”

The research team, led by Xijun…

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