Lecture 13 (3-1) - Early Primate Evolution The roots of the...

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Early Primate Evolution The roots of the primate order go back to the beginnings of the placental mammal radiation circa 65 m.y.a. The earliest primates were diverging from quite early primitive placental mammals. A vast number of fossil primates from the Eocene (55–34 m.y.a.) have been discovered and now total more than 200 recognized species. Geological Time Scale ERA PERIOD Began m.y.a. EPOCH Began m.y.a. CENOZOIC Tertiary 1.8 Holocene Pleistocene 0.01 1.8 Quaternary 65 Pliocene Miocene Oligocene Eocene Paleocene 5 23 34 55 65 Eocene Primates Fossil primates from the Eocene display distinctive primate features. Looking at the whole array of Eocene primates, it is certain that they were: 1. Primates 2. Widely distributed 3. Mostly extinct by the end of the Eocene. Early Eocene Primates: Features Chinese fossils dating from the early Eocene (55–45 m.y.a.) have three interesting features: Forward rotation of the eyes, a feature that makes them distinct from the lemur-loris lineage. The cranium shows small eye sockets, suggesting they may have been
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Lecture 13 (3-1) - Early Primate Evolution The roots of the...

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