name = "Godinotia"
fossil_range = Early Eocene
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
subordo = Strepsirrhini
familia = †Adapidae
genus = "†Godinotia"
subdivision_ranks = Paleospecies
subdivision = "†Godinotia neglecta"

"Godinotia" is an extinct genus of lemur-like prosimians belonging to the Adapidae family. It lived during the Eocene epoch (49 million years ago), and its fossils have been found in the Messel Pit, Germany, showing that it already exhibited hominid features that would help make the primates such a successful group. It is one of the earliest-known primates, but the origins of the group remain controversial: some claim that the oldest primate is 70 million years old, but this is based on a single fossilized tooth. The oldest definite primate fossils date from around 55 million years ago and belong to animals that are similar to "Godinotia".

The fossils also show that "Godinotia" was especially vulnerable to attack by crocodiles, which may have grabbed them from riverbanks when they came down from the trees to drink.


"Godinotia" were about 30 cm long, excluding the tail, smaller than a domestic cat.


Like all the earliest primates, "Godinotia" lived up in the trees, where food was plentiful and there were few large predators. To get about and feed, it had excellent binocular vision, long limbs, and grasping hands that it would have used to cling to branches or leap between trees. Their eyes were large, so they were probably nocturnal, and the shape of their teeth suggest that they ate insects and fruit.

The male and female "Godinotia" were about the same size as each other, which, if modern species are anything to go by, probably means they were solitary animals that met up only to mate. The large size of "Godinotia's" penis bone indicates that mating took place over a long period of time (possibly several hours). The male did this to be sure the female would become pregnant by him.

Discovery and species

The genus is named after primate researcher Marc Godinot.


*cite book | author = Haines, Tim, and Paul Chambers | title = The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life | pages = Pg. 155 | location = Canada | publisher = Firefly Books Ltd. | year = 2006

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