Partial skeleton near root of monkey, ape and human line
Paul Tafforeau/ESRF and X. Ni/Chinese Academy of Sciences
A palm-sized creature sporting a tail longer than its body has given scientists an unprecedented look at one of the earliest phases of primate evolution.
An international team led by paleontologist Xijun Ni of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing analyzed this animal’s 55-million-year-old remains, the oldest known primate skeleton. Discovered 10 years ago along an ancient lake bed in central China, the fossil comes from a previously unknown genus and species, Archicebus achilles, the scientists report June 6 in Nature.
Over the past decade, digital scanning of the find with X-rays