Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ick, Baxter was right about something.

Plesiadapiforms are primate ancestors. I feel a little dirty acknowledging Baxter was right about something. ;)

A new study led by a University of Florida paleontologist reconstructs the base of our family tree and extends its roots 10 million years, a finding that sheds new light on the origin and earliest stages of primate evolution.

Published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and featured on the cover of its Jan. 23 print edition, the study offers compelling evidence that a group of archaic mammals called plesiadapiforms (please-ee-ah-dape-i-forms) are more closely related to modern primates than to flying lemurs, which previously had been proposed.

The two-part study examined specimens representing more than 85 modern and extinct species and provides evidence that plesiadapiforms are the most primitive primates. The team also discovered two 56-million-year-old fossils, the most primitive primate skeletons ever described.

Are they full skeletons? Are they actually plesiadapiforms? I can't seem to find the PNAS article they're talking about.

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