Bug-eyed primate cousins of monkeys and apes, lemurs currently live in the wild
only on the African island of Madagascar. About 30 million years ago, however, a
diminutive lemur species inhabited what is now central Pakistan, a new fossil find
The handful of teeth unearthed in Pakistan's Bugti Hills represents the oldest
known lemur, contends an international team led by paleontologist Laurent Marivaux
of Université Montpellier in France. This discovery raises the possibility that
lemurs originated in southern Asia, not in Africa as many investigators have
Only further fossil finds on both continents will unravel the evolutionary roots
of so-called strepsirrhine primates, which consist of lemurs and their close
relatives the lorises, the scientists conclude in the Oct. 19 Science. "The time
has come for the Asian scenario to receive more serious attention," Marivaux says.
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