Monday, April 16, 2007

New 42 Million Year Old Omomyid Primate Discovered

From the press release:
Jim Westgate (Lamar U.) and colleagues. announced their discovery at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Philadelphia, Pa., March 29, 2007.
Molar, pre-molar and incisor teeth from a new omomyid primate genus and three other new primate species were recovered from 42 million-year-old tropical, mangrove palm swamp deposits of the Eocene age Laredo Formation exposed in Lake Casa Blanca International State Park in Laredo.

The association of primate fossils with the skeletal remains of oysters, sharks, rays, giant aquatic snakes and crocodiles, along with mangrove palm fruits and pollen, indicates that the middle Eocene shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico lay 150 miles inland of its present position, Westgate said.

Omomyids lived 34 to 50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch and were one of two groups of known Eocene primates. The other, adapids, were more lemur-like. Fossils of these Eocene primates have been found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Eocene primates are the earliest known primates.