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Anthropoid advancement by Keenan Taylor.

You are watching: Propliopithecids are known from the fayum.

While we have no primate fossil material prior to the Eocene Epoch, the very first primates room thought to have developed prior to the Paleocene Epoch (66–56 mya), probably as far ago as 90 mya, during the late Cretaceous Period. With the die out of the dinosaurs at the finish of the Cretaceous, plenty of terrestrial niches became available and predation pressure were rather relaxed. In addition, temperatures were higher than in the recent past (see figure 3.2) and also the angiosperms (flowering plants) to be undergoing an adaptive radiation, i.e. Relatively rapid speciation, and spreading globally. The spread out of flowering plants brought about an adaptive radiation of insect pollinators and also herbivores (plant-eaters), as well as insectivorous and herbivorous arboreal vertebrates.

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Temperature change over time. “65 Myr Climate Change” by Robert A. Rohde is license is granted under CC BY-SA 3.0. Notes: Pal = Paleocene, Eo = Eocene, Ol = Oligocene, Mio = Miocene, Pli = Pliocene, and also Plt = Pleistocene
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Primate phylogeny. “Primate phylogeny” from “Strepsirrhini” in Wikipedia is license is granted CC-BY-SA

The earliest primates likely descended native a small, nocturnal, insectivorous mammal. The tree shrews and colugos (also known as flying lemurs) room the closestly living relatives to primates. The tree shrew is offered as a living design for what the faster primates, or primate predecessors, could have to be like. At part point, primates or your ancestors moved right into the trees and adjusted to one arboreal environment. 2 theories concerning the advancement of some primate characteristics, such as grasping or prehensile hands, forward-oriented eyes, and also depth perception, are the Arboreal and Visual Predation Theories. The Arboreal Theory posits the primate characteristics, such together grasping hands and also feet and also the visibility of nails rather of claws, are the result of relocating into and also adapting to an arboreal environment. (Imagine the casualties!) The Visual Predation Theory asserts that qualities that to be well-suited come scurrying roughly in trees and also visual functions in particular, such together convergent orbits, space adaptations to insect predation. Quick of a butterfly net, grasping hands, visual acuity, and also depth perception are vital for recording insects, yet I guess they would be sort of handy for using a butterfly net as well!

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Tree shrew. “Tupaia cf javanica 050917 manc” by W. Djatmiko is license is granted under CC BY-SA 3.0.
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Hands and also feet that apes and also monkeys. “Hands and Feet of Apes and also Monkeys” through Richard Lydekker is in the general public domain.

While primates room thought to have advanced in Asia, the bulk of the at an early stage fossil product is uncovered in north America and Europe, dating to the Eocene Epoch (~56–34 mya). The map in number 3.6 suggests both living and fossil strepsirrhine sites. Lock are divided into two superfamilies, Adapoidea and Omomyoidea. In general, the adapoids were diurnal, lemur-like pets that room thought to be the ancestors that the strepsirrhine primates, i.e. The lemurs of Madagascar and the lorisids of Africa and also Southeast Asia (i.e. Bushbabies and also pottos the Africa and also lorises of south east Asia) (see number 3.7). The smaller, nocturnal omomyoids are an excellent candidates for the ancestors of contemporary tarsiers. However, due to the early dates for genealogical tarsiers, that is possible that the omomyoids and tarsiers to be sister lineages.


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Range of life strepsirrhine primates (green) and Eocene-Miocene fossil website (red). “Extant strepsirrhine variety with fossil sites,” a derivative job-related by Maky, is in the general public domain.

During the Eocene Epoch, the beforehand strepsirrhine-like primates skilled an adaptive radiation and also expanded into plenty of niches end a wide geographic area. The northern expansion of early on primates into Europe and North America was feasible because Eurasia and North America were joined together the large landmass known as Laurasia and, as mentioned, it to be warm enough for tropical pets to move right into northern latitudes. As result of subsequent global cooling, the early primates in north America and also Europe at some point went extinct. Strepsirrhine primates spread right into Africa after it docked v Laurasia. Lock are also hypothesized to have “rafted” top top floating carpet of vegetation come Madagascar, wherein they advanced into the great diversity that extinct and extant lemur species.

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Strepsirrhini. Notes: height left: ring-tailed lemurs (Madagascar); optimal right: diademed sifaka (Madagascar); top middle left: aye-aye (Madagascar); top middle right: ruffed lemur (Madagascar); bottom middle left: mouse lemur (Madagascar); bottom middle right: sluggish loris (Asia); bottom left: slim loris (Asia); bottom right: better bushbaby (Africa).

By at the very least the so late Eocene, the first anthropoid primates had evolved. There is conflict over the origin of the anthropoids, i.e. The ancestor the the monkeys and also apes. There are four various theories of our ancestry, each through its re-superstructure of supporters: (1) adapoid, (2) omomyoid, (3) tarsier, or (4) independent origin as however undiscovered. Continues to be of at an early stage anthropoids date to the so late Eocene are discovered in Africa and Asia. A feasible stem or basal anthropoid, definition the original ancestor of every monkeys and also apes, comes from the Shanghuang deposits of China. Termed genus: Eosimias (see figure 3.8), it was as tiny as the smallest living anthropoid, the pygmy marmoset monkey of southern America. If ring-tailed lemurs have striped tails, I do not know of any type of other stripe primates so to be not certain why the artist gave them stripes … however it certain is an intriguing small creature! other late Eocene fossils have actually been found in Myanmar (genus: Pondaungia), Thailand (genus: Siamopithecus), Libya (genus: Biretia), Algeria, and the Fayum Beds of Egypt.

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Eosimias sinesis. Illustration through Keenan Taylor.

During the Oligocene Epoch (~34–23 mya), the anthropoid primates underwent a good adaptive radiation. The richest location for Oligocene anthropoid fossils is the Fayum bed of Egypt. Oligocene anthropoids are separated into three families: Parapithecidae, Oligopithecidae, and also Propliopithecidae, from most primitive to most obtained over time. The new World chimpanzees are assumed to have actually branched off from the parapithecids, with which lock share part characteristics. Genus: Apidium is a prime contender for a possible ancestor. Once again, a rafting theory is proposed for the migrate of the ancestor native Africa to southern America.

The ancestors of the Old civilization monkeys and also apes sail from the family: Propliopithecidae. The propliopithecid, Aegyptopithecus zeuxis (also well-known as Propliopithecus zeuxis) is believed to it is in a typical ancestor that the ape and Old world monkey lineages (see figure 3.9). While the more quickly anthropoids were much more monkey- 보다 ape-like, the apes (or hominoids) were the first to efficiently adapt to transforming environmental conditions in Africa.

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Aegyptopithecus or Propliopithecus zeuxis. “Aegyptopithecus NT” by Nobu Tamura is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

For years, human being have request me, “Barbara, you don’t really believe that we come from monkeys, do you?” and also I constantly answered, “No, we come from apes!” However, our common anthropoid ancestor was much more monkey- 보다 ape-like…. So, “YEAH, I expect I do!”

During the Miocene Epoch (~23–5.3 mya), the adaptive radiation the the apes or hominoids deserve to be it was observed in the fossil record. The earliest fossils space from Kenya and Uganda. There were 20 or an ext genera the apes throughout the Miocene and also they displayed a wide variety of human body sizes and also adaptive strategies. Proconsul is a feasible stem ape, date to ~18 mya (see figure 3.10 and 3.11). The family tree of the lesser apes is unclear however they are thought to have actually branched off 18–16 mya. The great apes diversified and also spread indigenous Africa come Asia and Europe. The ancestors the the orangutans, the sivapithecines, moved into western and also subsequently eastern Asia. Stays in Turkey have actually been date to 14 mya. The biggest primate that ever lived, i.e. The now extinct genus: Gigantopithecus (known only from diverted dental and mandibular fragments), likewise had a sivapithecine ancestry. Dryopithecine apes moved right into Europe throughout the late Miocene. Typically referred to as “dental apes,” due to the scanty remains of jaws and also teeth, that evolutionary next branch eventually went extinct early out to global cooling, similar to the previously strepsirrhines in the northern latitudes.

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“Proconsul NT” through Nobu Tamura is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

While there were Old World primates in the Miocene Epoch, such together genus: Victoriapithecus indigenous Kenya, the adaptive radiation of the Old World monkeys lagged behind the hominoids. However, the very same environmental problems that drove most ape genera come extinction in Africa resulted in an explode of monkey species. Chimpanzees could an ext quickly adapt due to their shorter life stages and greater number of offspring. A baboon can offer birth every two years versus four or 5 years for gorillas and chimps, respectively. If the leaf-eating ancestor the the colobines remained in the trees, the ancestor of the cercopithecine or cheek bag monkeys, such together macaques and baboons, adapted to travel on the ground and in the trees. The ability to exploit both arboreal and also terrestrial resources increased their niche and also they survived and thrived in Africa and also Asia. With only two extant genera, the afri colobines did not diversify to the very same extent, having actually been confined come forests. However, the oriental colobines go not experience the same woodland loss as their african cousins did and are for this reason much much more diverse. When African woodlands later expanded, the ancestors of part cercopithecine species, such together the colorful arboreal guenons, went earlier to the trees.

It has been daunting to map the beginning of the human/chimp/gorilla lineage throughout the mid-Miocene because of a paucity that fossils from that time and many conflict viewpoints. Some of the contenders because that the stem African an excellent ape space Nakalipithecus (10 mya) and also Samburupithecus (9.5 mya) native Kenya. Other feasible ancestors or related varieties are Afropithecus (18–16 mya) and Nacholapithecus (15 mya) indigenous Kenya and also Otavipithecus (13 mya) from Namibia.

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The chimp and human lineages room thought to have actually diverged through the so late Miocene. Global cooling in the latter part of the Miocene resulted in the die out of all ape genera in northern latitudes. Woodland cover in Africa to be vastly diminished over time due to climatic fluctuations and while many apes go extinct, the newly arised hominins thrived. Hominins competent an adaptive radiation during the Pliocene date (~5.3–2.6 mya), and late in the Pleistocene epoch (~2.6 mya–11.7 kya) our very own species, Homo sapiens, advanced (≤200 kya).