As seen in the Duke University news: Little Teeth Suggest Big Jump in Primate Timeline
DURHAM, NC — Tiny
fossilized teeth excavated from an Indian open-pit coal mine could be
the oldest Asian remains ever found of anthropoids, the primate lineage
of today’s monkeys, apes and humans, say researchers from Duke
University and the Indian Institute of Technology.
9-thousandths of a square inch in size, the teeth are about 54.5
million years old and suggest these early primates were no larger than
modern dwarf lemurs weighing about 2 to 3 ounces. Studies of the shape
of the teeth suggest these small animals could live on a fruit and
insect diet, according to the researchers.
certainly the oldest anthropoid from Asia and India," said Richard Kay,
a Duke professor of evolutionary anthropology who is corresponding
author of a report to be published online during the week of Aug. 4-8
in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)