The oldest Asian record of Anthropoidea
Undisputed anthropoids appear in the fossil record of Africa and Asia by the middle Eocene, about 45 Ma. Here, we report the discovery of an early Eocene eosimiid anthropoid primate from India, named Anthrasimias, that extends the Asian fossil record of anthropoids by 9-10 million years. A phylogenetic analysis of 75 taxa and 343 characters of the skull, postcranium, and dentition of Anthrasimias and living and fossil primates indicates the basal placement of Anthrasimias among eosimiids, confirms the anthropoid status of Eosimiidae, and suggests that crown haplorhines (tarsiers and monkeys) are the sister clade of Omomyoidea of the Eocene, not nested within an omomyoid clade. Co-occurence of Anthropoidea, Omomyoidea, and Adapoidea makes it evident that peninsular India was an important center for the diversification of primates of modern aspect (euprimates) in the early Eocene. Adaptive reconstructions indicate that early anthropoids were mouse-lemur-sized (≈75 grams) and consumed a mixed diet of fruit and insects. Eosimiids bear little adaptive resemblance to later Eocene-early Oligocene African Anthropoidea. © 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Bajpai, S; Kay, RF; Williams, BA; Das, DP; Kapur, VV; Tiwari, BN
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