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52-million-year-old fossils show near-primates were cool with colder climate

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Two sister species of near-primate, called "primatomorphans," dating back about 52 million years have been identified by researchers at the University of Kansas as the oldest to have dwelled north of the Arctic Circle. The findings appear today in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

According to lead author Kristen Miller, doctoral student with KU's Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, both species—Ignacius mckennai and I. dawsonae—descended from a common northbound ancestor who possessed a spirit "to boldly go where no primate has gone before."

The specimens were discovered on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, in layers of sediment linked with the early Eocene, an epoch of warmer temperatures that could foretell how ecosystems will fare in coming years due to human-driven climate change.



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