Archicebus achilles could be humanity’s earliest primate cousin. A tiny primate that lived 55 million years ago has provided new clues about the. Archicebus achilles likely weighed about 1 ounce, or grams, and was smaller than today’s smallest primate, the pygmy mouse lemur (Mat. Archicebus achilles lived 55m years ago in what is now China and is the ancestor of all monkeys, apes and humans.

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Tiny, insect-eating animal becomes earliest known primate | Science | The Guardian

Archicebus achilles lived on a humid, tropical lake shore 55m years ago in what is now China and is the ancestor of all modern tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans. Archicebus achilles was recovered from sedimentary rock strata that were deposited in an ancient lake roughly 55 million years ago, a time of global greenhouse conditions, when much of the world was shrouded in tropical rainforests and palm trees grew as far north as Alaska.

A tiny, insect-eating animal with slender limbs, a long tail and weighing in at no more than 30 grams, has become the earliest achiples primate in the fossil record. Eocene primates Fossil taxa described in Mammals of China Monotypic primate genera Prehistoric primate genera Paleontology in Hubei.

The most unusual aspect of Archicebus is its foot anatomy.

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Platyrrhini New World monkeys. While scientists agree that humans first evolved in Africa, the discovery of the fossil now suggests that was not where our part of the primate family started.

Archicebus achilles could be humanity’s earliest primate cousin

This allowed them to peer inside the rock to look at details of the skeleton that were hidden and produce a three dimensional image of the remains. Archicebus Ni et al. As a result, the skeleton is now preserved in two complementary pieces, each of which contains elements of the actual skeleton as well as impressions of bones from the other side.


At the time, Africa was an island and had yet to collide with the south western side of the continent of Asia. They believe Archicebuswhich was less than three inches long and would have weighed between 20 to 30 grams, had feet like a small monkey, beady little eyes and sharp molar teeth.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Its hind limbs suggest it did a lot of leaping; however, its hips, shoulders, and feet also suggest that it was not a vertical clinger and leaper such as tarsiers and galagos are, but likely moved through the trees in a more generalized quadrupedal fashion by grasping tree limbs from above.

But we know it could not have been easy. The find, described in the journal Natureis the oldest known fossil primate skeleton.

Show 25 25 50 All. Retrieved from ” https: As ofit acholles the oldest fossil haplorhine primate skeleton discovered, [3] [4] and is most closely related to tarsiers and the fossil omomyidsalthough A. Phylogeny of primates [9]. Their claims were widely disputed by other scientists. It would have moved around a lot looking for its next meal climbing and leaping around in the canopy.

Oldest-Known Primate Fossil Found in China | Paleontology |

More from the web. Researchers say Archicebus belongs on a branch of the primate evolutionary tree that eventually evolved into tarsiers, small mammals with big round eyes that live in Asia.


Better known as Ida, it was originally thought to be a direct ancestor of the primate lineage leading to monkeys, apes and humans — but further analysis suggests Ida is closer to early lemurs. The mouse-sized fossil, which was discovered in China, is the earliest known cousin of humans yet to be found. The fossil’s large eye sockets indicate a creature with good vision and, according to scientists, it probably hunted during daytime. According archciebus Ni et al.

Archicebus achilles exhibits similarities with simians with regard to the shape of its calcaneus and the proportions of its metatarsalsyet its skull, teeth, and appendicular skeleton resemble zchilles of tarsiers.

Tiny Chinese Archicebus fossil is oldest primate yet found

Dr Christophe Soligo, a biological anthropologist at University College Londonsaid the discovery of the fossil was a significant contribution to scientific knowledge of early primate evolution. The second strand of evidence comes from the fossil record. Loading comments… Trouble loading?

It looks like an odd hybrid with the feet of a small monkey, the arms, legs and teeth of a very primitive primate, and a primitive skull bearing surprisingly small eyes. An artist rendering of an Archicebus achilles in its natural habitat of trees. Chris Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgha co-author on the Nature paper, added that, because the animal was so small and “active metabolically, it was probably quite a frenetic animal, you could even think anxious.