Palaeontological evidence for an Oligocene divergence between Old World monkeys and apes.

Title

Palaeontological evidence for an Oligocene divergence between Old World monkeys and apes.

Creator

Stevens Nancy J; Seiffert Erik R; O'Connor Patrick M; Roberts Eric M; Schmitz Mark D; Krause Cornelia; Gorscak Eric; Ngasala Sifa; Hieronymus Tobin L; Temu Joseph

Publisher

Nature

Date

2013
2013-05-30

Description

Apes and Old World monkeys are prominent components of modern African and Asian ecosystems, yet the earliest phases of their evolutionary history have remained largely undocumented. The absence of crown catarrhine fossils older than ∼20 million years (Myr) has stood in stark contrast to molecular divergence estimates of ∼25-30 Myr for the split between Cercopithecoidea (Old World monkeys) and Hominoidea (apes), implying long ghost lineages for both clades. Here we describe the oldest known fossil 'ape', represented by a partial mandible preserving dental features that place it with 'nyanzapithecine' stem hominoids. Additionally, we report the oldest stem member of the Old World monkey clade, represented by a lower third molar. Both specimens were recovered from a precisely dated 25.2-Myr-old stratum in the Rukwa Rift, a segment of the western branch of the East African Rift in Tanzania. These finds extend the fossil record of apes and Old World monkeys well into the Oligocene epoch of Africa, suggesting a possible link between diversification of crown catarrhines and changes in the African landscape brought about by previously unrecognized tectonic activity in the East African rift system. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Subject

AFRICA; APES; BIOTIC communities; CERCOPITHECIDAE; OLIGOCENE Epoch; PALEONTOLOGY; TANZANIA

Identifier

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

611–614

Issue

7451

Volume

497

Citation

Stevens Nancy J; Seiffert Erik R; O'Connor Patrick M; Roberts Eric M; Schmitz Mark D; Krause Cornelia; Gorscak Eric; Ngasala Sifa; Hieronymus Tobin L; Temu Joseph, “Palaeontological evidence for an Oligocene divergence between Old World monkeys and apes.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed November 26, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/5730.

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