Half-dozen Primate Fossils unearthed from China may solve Evolution of Primates

Half-dozen Primate Fossils unearthed from China may solve Evolution of Primates

Fossils of six new species discovered in China may shed light on evolution of primates. These furry creatures lived in southern China approximately 34 million years ago, as per a study conducted by a group of researchers.

The fossils are of six extinct primate species that were previously unknown, announced researchers on Thursday. Four of the creatures are alike lemurs of Madagascar, one seems like Philippines’ tarsiers, and the remaining primate species is similar to monkey.

Primates are considered as a group that has close connection with human evolution. According to experts, primates are among those who are sensitive to earth’s environment. These species inhabited many regions of the planet shortly after an environmental shift that led to cooler and drier conditions. Changes in earth’s climate vanished primates from Europe, Asia and North America.

Anthropoids are a primate lineage that, as per experts, led to humans, apes and monkeys. The lineage is thought to be originated in Asia. Today, we have fossils of primates that lived 45 million years ago. As per historians, some anthropoids moved about 38 million years ago from Asia to live in Africa. Human arose in that region approximately 200,000 years ago.

Some experts have a query: If Asia is an origin place of anthropoids, then why humans and apes didn’t emerge there? The answer lies in an event that occurred 34 million years ago.

“This juncture represented a critical filtering episode during the evolutionary history of primates” said Xijun Ni, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

Before the earth suffered a climate change when temperature fell, anthropoids took control over primates of Asia. After that, the primates faced domination of lemur-like primates. This theory is confirmed by one of the six species, which was an anthropoid, discovered in Yunnan Province of China.

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