New fossils help rebuild the grandfather of all primates – Darwin and God

The pet’s scientific name and history are irresistible: Purgatorius mckeeveri, whose artistic reconstruction can be seen in all its glory in the picture, is the oldest member of the primate line, which also includes golden lion tamarins, chimpanzees and, of course, you and me.

How old? Almost as old as the dinosaurs. The authors of the discovery of the new Purgatorius species, led by Gregory Wilson Mantilla of the University of Washington in Seattle (USA), estimate that the animal lived 65.9 million years ago, only 100,000 years after the mass extinction ended the rule of the not Bird dinosaur. (The term excludes birds, which of course are also dinosaurs. I say “new species of Purgatorius” because the genus was already known.

As a member of the plesiadapiform group, the animal was omnivorous, but likely had a particular predilection for fruit. The fossils were found in the US state of Montana. The official description of the discovery can be found in the journal Royal Society Open Science.


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