Apidium

Apidium

Taxobox | name = "Apidium"
fossil_range =Fossil range|36|32Late Eocene-Early Oligocene


image_width =
image_caption =
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
familia = †Parapithecidae
genus = "†Apidium"
genus_authority = Osborn, 1908
subdivision_ranks = Paleospecies
subdivision = "†Apidium phiomense"
"†Apidium moustafai"
"†Apidium bowni"

The genus "Apidium" (from Latin for "small bull", as the first fossils were thought to be from a type of a cow) is that of at least three extinct primates living in the early Oligocene, roughly 36 to 32 millions years ago. "Apidium" fossils are common in the Fayoum deposits of Egypt. Fossils of the earlier species, "Apidium moustafai", are rare; fossils of the later species "Apidium phiomense" are fairly common.

"Apidium" is placed within the Parapithecidae family in the parvorder Catarrhini, making it closely related to the modern Old World haplorrhine primates, although roughly equally close to the Old World monkeys to which it resembles and the apes.

Behaviour

The "Apidium" species were well adapted to life in what once were the tropical forests of North Africa. The limbs of the "Apidium" show an ability to run along branches and leap between trees. Males were much larger than females, and had large canine teeth. Its hind feet were particularly good at grasping branches, ensuring that it didn't fall to the forest floor below, where predators might be waiting.cite book | author = Haines, Tim, and Paul Chambers | title = The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life | location = Canada | publisher = Firefly Books Ltd. | year = 2006]

Unlike their nocturnal ancestors ("e.g." "Godinotia"), these primates appear to have been diurnal, using their keen eyesight to find ripe fruit and insects in the trees, which it would then eat using its specially rounded and flattened teeth. Much of its walking time would have been spent in the search fo food, and it may have had to wander over a wide area to satisfy its hunger.

Male "Apidium" were bigger than the females, which, by comparing them with living primates, suggests that they probably lived in small groups, where a small number of males would have had control over several females. The males had large canine teeth, which they would use to fight one another over mating rights and for the ultimate right to control a particular group of female "Apidium".

References

External links

* [http://www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/users/haaramo/Metazoa/deuterostoma/Chordata/Synapsida/Eutheria/Primates/Parapithecoidea/Parapithecidae.htm Mikko's Phylogeny archive]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/441.shtml BBC's Nature Fact Files]
* [http://members.tripod.com/cacajao/apidium_phiomense.html Scientific classification of Apidium phiomense]


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