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Earth Science

40 Million Year Old Primate Fossils Found In Asia 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-who's-coming-to-dinner dept.
sosaited writes "It has been widely believed that our ancestors originated out of Africa, but a paper published in Nature by Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientists puts this in doubt. The paper is based on the fossils of four primate species found in Asia which are 40 million years old, during which period Africa was thought to not have these species. The diversity and timing of the new anthropoids raises two scenarios. Anthropoids might simply have emerged in Africa much earlier than thought, and gone undiscovered by modern paleontologists. Or they could have crossed over from Asia, where evidence suggests that anthropoids lived 55 million years ago, flourishing and diversifying in the wide-open ecological niches of an anthropoid-free Africa."
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40 Million Year Old Primate Fossils Found In Asia

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  • Atlantis (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They were Atlanteans/aliens from outerspace.

  • Not found in Asia (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vingborg (141225) <<vingborg> <at> <nomicon.dk>> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @04:39AM (#34047270)

    The fossils were NOT found i Asia, but in Libya, which was and is a part of Africa. The point of the paper is, that the variety of fossils indicate a much deeper evolutionary history than the African fossil record accounts for, and that Asia is the likely candidate for the earliest primates.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      What TFS even tries to say? That our lineage turns out to be not contained strictly to Africa, since the emergence of first live on this planet? I don't think anybody claimed that...

      (and I seem to recall there were already some arguments (phylogenetic?) that our "mammalian lineage" was primarily in Asia for a long time)

      • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @06:15AM (#34047572)
        Rule of thumb: Coffee first, attempts to form coherent sentences second.
        • by mpeskett (1221084)

          The only mangled part was "That our lineage turns out to be not contained strictly to Africa, since the emergence of first live on this planet?", which isn't hard to figure out if you swap "live" for "life (easy mistake)

          "That our lineage may not be entirely contained within Africa all the way back to the emergence of first life on this planet" might be clearer, but don't be an ass about it; GP's probably not a native English speaker.

      • by mldi (1598123)

        What TFS even tries to say? That our lineage turns out to be not contained strictly to Africa, since the emergence of first live on this planet? I don't think anybody claimed that...

        (and I seem to recall there were already some arguments (phylogenetic?) that our "mammalian lineage" was primarily in Asia for a long time)

        I guess I'm still in BSG mode, because at first glance I could have sworn that said "since the emergence of the first five on this planet". I was going to correct the typo (should be *final* five, damnit!).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiThere (15173)

      I thought that primates arising in Asia was standard. I don't remember the time-line, but I thought they arose in Asia where the Gibbons and then Orangutangs split off, and then some migrated to Africa where the rest of the primates developed.

      40 million years is a rather long span of time, so I don't see any problems. The only catch is that Libya is in Africa, so this means that primates need to have been widely distributed by then. Either that or done an awful lot of migrating and dying out in the home

  • Libya != Africa? (Score:4, Informative)

    by shiznatix (924851) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @04:54AM (#34047320)
    "The discovery of four ancient, lemur-like creatures in what is now Libya suggests the human family tree’s taproot is in the Middle East, not Africa."

    Correct me if I am wrong but Libya is in Africa. Nowhere in the article does it mention any Asian country. It says that these were found in Libya which is Africa but then goes on about these animals crossing over from Asia to Africa. So, where exactly were these fossils found?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      The diversity and timing of the new anthropoids raises two scenarios. Anthropoids might simply have emerged in Africa much earlier than thought, and gone undiscovered by modern paleontologists. Or they could have crossed over from Asia, where evidence suggests that anthropoids lived 55 million years ago, flourishing and diversifying in the wide-open ecological niches of an anthropoid-free Africa.

      So the only older evidence of these animals is in Asia, suggesting they came from there originally.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nomad-9 (1423689)
      The point is that these primate fossils show that they might have colonized Africa from somewhere else. Why? Because of the sudden appearance of such diversity while there is no earlier fossil evidence.

      The most likely place would be Asia. Why? Probably because of the earlier findings of old fossils there and that one of the Libyan anthropoids resembled one found in Asia.

  • Better Article Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jagen (30952) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @05:15AM (#34047380) Homepage

    There in a link in the comments section to a much better article that explains why even though these fossils are from Africa they are being linked to primate origins in Asia.
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/where-did-all-these-primates-come-from-fossil-teeth-may-hint-at-an-asian-origin-for-anthropoid-primates/ [wired.com]

  • by BrightSpark (1578977) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @05:29AM (#34047424)
    Of course your African primates are non-migratory you see...
  • Where is the Carnegie Museum Of Natural History Scientists located, and does it keep them in formaldehyde, or are they just pinned to the wall with a glass pane in front?
  • Does TFA mention traces of tall dark monoliths nearby? We might need to take a closer look at the magnetic field of the Moon :D
  • What I really want to know is whether or not they had the liberal gene?
    http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20101027/3003/researchers-find-a-liberal-gene.htm [medicaldaily.com]

  • by Baby Duck (176251) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:13AM (#34051506) Homepage
    We don't really know where early hominds or early primates came from. Signs point to Africa merely because 1) it geologically has a good track record of fossilization and 2) yearly powerful rains directly pounding millions year-old exposed mud and rock make it easy to find fossils at ground level. For all we know, early primates and hominids could have come from where Detroit or Seoul or Sydney currently is. If those sites are geologically poor at lending itself to fossilization, we'd never know.
    • by danlip (737336)

      There are great fossil beds scattered all over the world. It's true that the fossil record are somewhat erratic, but not so bad that we would be that far off base.

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