The fayum primate forest revisited

Published

Journal Article

In Oligocene times, the Fayum area of northern Egypt was a subtropical to tropical lowland coastal plain with damp soils and seasonal rainfall that supported an abundance and variety of vegetation, including lianes (large vines), tall trees, and possibly mangroves, and a large and varied vertebrate fauna. The Oligocene marine strandline was close by and principal Jebel Qatrani Formation streams were probably brackish several kilometers inland due to tidal incursions. Sediments of the Jebel Qatrani Formation were deposited by several large meandering streams, associated with minor but sometimes extensive floodbasin ponds. These rocks provide no evidence for the former existence, in early Tertiary time, of a "Proto-Nile" River. Large accumulations of silicified fossil logs in the Jebel Qatrani Formation are autochthonous and the logs were transported only a short distance before burial. The Oligocene higher primates Aegyptopithecus, Propliopithecus, Parapithecus, and Apidium lived in this paleoenvironment and postcranial remains of Aegyptopithecus and Apidium demonstrate that these animals were arboreal. This scenario for the paleoenvironment of the Fayum area in Oligocene times differs greatly from the nearly treeless, sparsely vegetated, semiarid sahélien Oligocene Fayum paleoenvironment populated by terrestrial primates that was recently proposed by Kortlandt (1980). © 1982 Academic Press Inc. (London) Limited.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Bown, TM; Kraus, MJ; Wing, SL; Fleagle, JG; Tiffney, BH; Simons, EL; Vondra, CF

Published Date

  • January 1, 1982

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 603 - 632

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0047-2484

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0047-2484(82)80008-0

Citation Source

  • Scopus