The world's oldest primates lived in tree peaks, not on the ground, according to 62-million-year-old scaffolding analysis of the world's oldest known primate skeleton in New Mexico.
This skeleton was discovered in San Juan Basin by Thomas Williamson, director of paleontology at the New Mexico Natural History and Science Museum, and his twin sons Taylor and Ryan.
The studies revealed that this small primate came from plesiadapiform, a depleted primate group, and that the skeletal structure was suitable for life on trees. For example, it's like climbing trees easily and having flexible joints to hold the branches together tightly.
Previously, researchers suggested that the placenta in Palechthonidae, to which Torrejonia belonged, was living on the ground based on the details obtained from its skulls and teeth
"This is the oldest partial skeleton belonging to a plesiadapiform, and of course it shows evidence of living in the trees," says editor-in-chief Stephen Chester. He started this collaborative research while working as an assistant professor at Brooklyn College and New York University, a managing member of vertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum, and a doctorate at Yale University.
He also says: "The combination of anatomical evidence we now have from the joints of the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle allows me to accomodate where these animals live. It would be impossible to do it if we just had jaws and teeth. "
The study, published online on May 31st in the online edition of the Royal Society Open Science, supports the hypothesis of the environment. So the first outing in the fossil record is the earliest primates hypothesis, shortly after the disappearance of non-bird dinosaurs. In addition, researchers are very pleased to be able to provide additional evidence on the earliest woody primate species known from the skeletal remains of new findings.
This partial skeleton; skull pieces, jaws, teeth, arms and legs, including parts of more than 20 different bone consists of parts. The existence of these associated teeth enabled Williamson, one of the co-authors of the study, to identify this skeleton specimen as Torrejonia. As Yale University professor of anthropology and senior writer Eric Sargis of the study stated, the majority of the lack of classification in mammals is due to lack of teeth
Sargis: Yale's Peabody Natural History Museum's vertebrate animal paleontology and zoology director Sargis: "It's an exciting invention, although it looks like it's composed of wastes. Because they provide a lot of new information about the early evolution and the origin of primates, "he says.
Sargis also had outward-facing eyes of the Palaechthonids and other plains, and they were more resistant to smell than primates living today. In addition, the details indicate that the species are transitional species between other mammals and modern primates. "
The land in which the partial skeleton is found is known as the Torrejon Fossil Fauna Region. This is a remote area managed by the Federal Bureau of Management in Northwest New Mexico. These public places are managed to preserve the scientific value of the paleontological resources that are there
Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History at Florida University and Mary Silcox from the Department of Anthropology, University of Scarborough, Toronto.
Yale University. May 30, 2017.