Re: Prior to the `last common ancestor'

Alex Duncan (
3 Nov 1995 14:31:54 GMT

In article <47c02e$> pete, VINCENT@REG.TRIUMF.CA

>Can anyone tell me about the current state of understanding of
>known candidates for hominoid precursors before the poorly
>known 14-5Mya period. What sort of apes were there, how well
>represented are their fossil remains, etc. We talked here a
>little bit about oreo-, dryo-, rama-, and sivapithecus, about
>two months ago, but I'm curious to know more. Do we have a
>clear idea of when apes lost their tails, and became separate
>from catarhine(sp) monkeys? I'm assuming that as apes are
>closer to catarhines than platyrhines, that they branched off
>after the separation of lemurs, and then platyrhines, had already
>occurred. I remember a classic full skeletal fossil discovery
>in Italy, I think it was a dryopithecus, which was known back
>when I was in school 25ya. How many more post cranial examples
>are there of the earlier apes?
>Do we have enough remains to say what sort of locomotion these
>creatures were likely to have used?

Hey, somebody posted about something other than AAT!

The time period between 14 - 5 Myr is when fossil hominoids from Africa
get really rare. All of the known fossils from that period will fit in
your two hands. There is a good article by Andrew Hill and Steve Ward
addressing exactly this issue. I'll dig around and try to come up with a
more precise reference.

Most hominoid fossils in the time period in question come from Europe and

Apes lost their tails by the time of appearance of Proconsul (~20 Myr).

The earliest known hominoid is Kamoyapithecus, dated to about 25 Myr (or
maybe 28, I've forgotten).

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086