Eosimias

Eosimias

Taxobox
name = "Eosimias" [cite web | url = http://www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/users/haaramo/metazoa/deuterostoma/Chordata/Synapsida/Eutheria/Primates/Parapithecoidea/Eosimiidae.htm | title = Mikko's Phylogeny Archive | author = Haaramo, Mikko | date = 2002-12-29 | accessdate = 2007-07-05]
fossil_range = Fossil range|45|42Middle Eocene
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
subordo = Catarrhini
familia = Eosimiidae
genus = "Eosimias"†
genus_authority = Beard et al, 1994
subdivision_ranks = Paleospecies
subdivision = "Eosimias sinensis"
"Eosimias centennicus"

"Eosimias" is the genus of two known early Old World primates that was discovered in 1994 in China. [cite journal | author = Beard KC, Tong Y, Dawson MR, Wang J, and Huang X | year = 1996 | title = Earliest complete dentition of an anthropoid primate from the late middle Eocene of Shanxi province, China | journal = Science | volume = 272 | pages = 82–85] These species are among the oldest known member of the Catarrhini suborder (the group that includes all of the Old World primates, including humans) to date, at about 45-42 million years old during the Eocene. Only a few specimens have been uncovered and scientists assume that "Eosimias" looks like today's marmosets from South America. Several other early catarrhines came to light in these deposits. One of them was no bigger than a human thumb, making it the smallest primate known. About 16 species of early catarrhines inhabited Eocene China, leading some scientists to assume that life for the early catarrhines was an arms race to survive. Strangely "Eosimias" discounts a popular theory that the origins of catarrhines came from Africa. Possibly the kin of "Eosimias" reached Africa and settled to become the Old World monkeys and apes we know today.

The tale of the late Asian catarrhines

In May 2005, three new primate fossils were discovered in the Bugti Hills of Pakistan. These hills lock away many primate mysteries. Among them was made in 2001, when the early primate "Bugtilemur" was discovered and led to the assumption that lemurs came from Asia, not Africa. The three primates called "Bugtipithecus inexpectans", "Phileosimias kamali", and "Phileosimias brahuiorum" all date back to the Oligocene some 30 million years ago - when monkeys dominated only Africa. These were small lemur-like catarrhines that prospered in an ancient tropical rainforest. Possibly these Asian catarrhines led nowhere in evolution, a side branch from "Eosimias". Other possible new catarrhines fossils were uncovered in China, Thailand, and Burma.

References


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