Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ancient Monkey (Picture of the Day: 6/5/13)

Archicebus achilles, possibly the oldest primate. Source

About 10 years ago, a tiny fossil was found in China by an unassuming farmer. Now, a group of researchers are reexamining this fossil and have found something incredible. This tiny, fossilized animal may be the oldest primate yet found, the farthest ancestor of humanity. They have named this 55 million year old creature Archicebus achilles, where Archicebus roughly translates to "ancient monkey". This creature is small and very far removed from humans, but it could be a link in our evolutionary chain.
Evidence from the creature's sharp teeth and small body indicate that it climbed through trees and ate insects. The fossil is currently being sent to France to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to be bombarded with x-rays in order to peer through the stone around the fossil and image the entirety of the skeleton, in much the same way x-rays are used in a doctors office.
For more information, check out this article. 

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