Yet another primate “missing link” showing evidence of the types of evolved characteristics that ultimately led to the appearance of humans. The small mammal is, apparently, exquisitely preserved, looks like a cross between a lemur and a monkey, and lived 47 million years ago, during the Eocene period, the New York Times reports today.
Speaking by telephone from Norway, Dr. Hurum recalled: “I realized at first it’s a primate. It just screams primate: opposable big toes and thumbs, no evidence of claws. This is like the Archaeopteryx of primate evolution.”
The scientists estimated that the primate was about 9 months old, the equivalent of a 6-year-old human. At maturity they suggest that it would have weighed two pounds and been two feet long, most of it tail. It had a broken left wrist, healing at the time of death, and may have drowned in the volcanic lake at Messel. It was, the researchers said, something like a combination “lemur monkey.”