November 30, 2022

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Aleksander Kowal

The evolutionary gap has been closed. One fossil was enough

The members of the research team focused on the family Hylobatidae It includes 20 contemporary species of gibbon that can be found throughout almost all of Asia, from northeastern India to Indonesia.

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As Terry Harrison of New York University explains, most specimens found so far consist of single teeth and fragments of jawbone. It is found in southern China and Southeast Asia, and its age is estimated to be no more than two million years. Thanks to the new discovery, it was possible to extend the fossil record to the past 7-8 million years.

A new fossil (though very old from a century perspective) has been excavated in the Yuanmu District of Yunnan Province in southwest China. It is set for this type Yuanmoupithecus xiaoyuanThe study authors looked at the teeth and upper jaw of a young man who was no more than two years old at the time of death.

On the basis of these analyzes, scientists concluded that the studied specimen is similar to modern gibbons in size and weight. His body weight was probably around 6 kilograms. They also found primitive traits that suggest this species is the common ancestor of all gibbon species living today.

remains Yuanmoupithecus xiaoyuan It is approximately 7-8 million years old

By the way, it was possible to clarify an error regarding Kapi Ramnagarensis. This type was initially mistaken for a representative of the family Hylobatidae. At least this was suggested by the results of analyzes of a single molar found in India. But thanks to the new analyzes, the judgment was changed, and the individual in question was considered a representative of a more primitive group of primates, not closely related to modern apes.

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Genetic studies show that Hylobatidae Separated from the line leading to great apes and humans about 17 to 22 million years ago, there is still a 10 million year gap in the fossil record that must be filled. With further exploration of promising fossil sites in China and elsewhere in Asia, it is hoped that additional discoveries will help fill in these important gaps in evolutionary history. Heliopatidae. The authors concluded