Archicebus achilles could be humanity’s earliest primate cousin. A tiny primate that lived 55 million years ago has provided new clues about the. Archicebus achilles likely weighed about 1 ounce, or grams, and was smaller than today’s smallest primate, the pygmy mouse lemur (Mat. Archicebus achilles lived 55m years ago in what is now China and is the ancestor of all monkeys, apes and humans.

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An artist rendering of an Archicebus achilles in its natural habitat of trees. The early primates somehow had to cross open water in order to colonise Africa.

Ida the ‘missing link’ on display. As ofit is the oldest fossil archicebu primate skeleton discovered, [3] [4] and is most closely related to tarsiers and the fossil omomyidsalthough A. An international team of paleontologists has discovered a well-preserved skeleton of achillez new tiny, tree-dwelling primate named Archicebus achilles that lived in what is now central China during Eocene about 55 million years ago.

Oldest-Known Primate Fossil Found in China

The foot looks like one from a small monkey, a marmoset. Darwinius masillae living in Archicebsu pit area of what is now modern Germany.

Cercopithecoidea Old World monkeys. More from the web. Better known as Ida, it was originally thought to be a direct ancestor of the primate lineage leading to monkeys, apes and humans — but further analysis suggests Ida is closer to early lemurs. Resembling tarsiers and simians monkeysapesand humansit was a haplorhine primate, and it also may have resembled the last common ancestor of all haplorhines as well as the last common ancestor of all primates.

The oldest known primate skeleton and early haplorhine evolution. First the gorillas, and achillez chimpanzees and bonobos split off from the evolutionary lineage that led to humans.


A tiny, insect-eating animal with slender limbs, a long tail and weighing in at no more than 30 grams, has become the earliest known primate in the fossil record. Scientists believe the creature, which has been named Archicebus achillesprovides new insights into where our ancestors first evolved. Unlike tarsiers, however, archicebjs smaller eyes suggest it was diurnala pattern previously suggested by other early haplorhines, such as Teilhardina asiatica.

The analysis shows that the fossil had a mixture of features found in modern-day tarsiers, an ancient group of primates that is now restricted to the islands of South East Asia, and others found in anthropoids, the lineage through which monkeys, apes and humans later evolved. The latter would then have made their journey to Africa and, millions of years later, evolved into humans.

Archicebus was alive during a period of intense global warming known as the palaeocene-eocene thermal maximum, a time when palm trees would have been growing as far north as Alaska.

Chris Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgha co-author on the Nature paper, added that, because the animal was so small and achilpes metabolically, it was probably quite a frenetic animal, you could even think anxious. Like most other fossils recovered from ancient lake strata, the skeleton of Archicebus was found by splitting apart the thin layers of rock containing the fossil.

Last acjilles scientists also unveiled a rodent like creature called Purgatorius that they acyilles was the earliest known primate at 65 million years old, but researchers are still split on whether it was a true primate. The fossilised skeleton, however, has some features — like a characteristic heel bone — that are still found in archicebjs closest animal relatives today. The New York Times. Show 25 25 50 All. Archicebus achilles Temporal range: There is some evidence of primates living in Africa about 55m years ago, but the knowledge is patchy and comes only from a few bones and teeth.


Considering its age, and since simians are a sister group to tarsiiforms, A. New Carnivorous Dinosaur Unveiled. The Archicebus skeleton is about 7m years older than the oldest currently known fossil primate skeletons, including Darwinius massilae from Messel in Germany, an extremely well-preserved fossil was that reported by scientists in Tetrapods achjlles from lobe-finned fish, as animals move on to the land.

Scientists found the fossil, whose name translates as “ancient monkey”, in the Hubei province of China about a decade ago but it hasn’t received detailed analysis until now.

The discovery of A. With completeness comes more information and better evidence for the adaptive and evolutionary themes concerning primate evolution. This page was last edited on 13 Augustat Eel-like creature identified as ‘earliest human ancestor’.

Archicebus Ni et al.

Archicebus – Wikipedia

It probably ate insects and lived in the branches of the tropical forests that would have covered the area at the start of the Eocene, when mammals started to dominate the Earth. The results of the analysis of Archicebus are published in the journal Nature. achulles

Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. The skeleton of Archicebus is about 7 million years older than the oldest fossil primate skeletons known previously. In palaeontologists revealed they had found a 47 million primate called Darwinius massillaenicknamed Ida, that was described as a “missing link” between early primates and humans.

Archicebus achilles lived on a humid, tropical lake shore 55m years ago in what is now China and is the ancestor of all modern tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans.