Million-Year-Old Monkey from the Caribbean Sheds Light on Human Evolution


Scientists may have uncovered an ancient species of monkey. They’ve found a species of fossil monkey that was once found across the Caribbean about 1 million years ago, Catherine Griffin reports i this article for Science World Report.

The researchers actually found the fossil embedded in a limestone rock that was dated using the Uranium-series technique. The scientists then used three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to confirm that the fossil tibia does indeed belong to the species, Antillothrix bernensis. This primate existed relatively unchanged for over a million years.

“The presence of endemic new world monkeys on the Caribbean islands is one of the great questions of bio-geography and our work on these fossils shows Antillothrix existed on Hispaniola relatively morphologically unchanged for over a million years,” said Helen Green, lead researcher, in a news release. “By establishing the age of these fossils we have changed the understanding of primate evolution in this region.”

The researchers have been searching for rare fossil remains of endemic mammals since 2009 to investigate how these animals were adapted to their unique, island environments. Now, the new fossil may shed some light on some of these questions.

The researchers found that the monkey was roughly the size of a small cat, was tree-dwelling, and lived largely on a diet of fruit and leaves. These findings reveal a bit more about the evolution of apes and shows that this species was present in the Caribbean during this time period.

The findings are published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

For the original report go to

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