A relic from the past

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A fossilised jaw discovered last year in the Yuanqu river basin, in the southern part of China's Shanxi province is probably an early ancestor of the modern monkey, ape and even humans. Scientists at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, US, and the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, China, have said that the creature belongs to a previously unknown species. They have named it Eosimias centennicus.

After a study of the animal's jaw, the scientists have reached the conclusion 1hat it must have been mouse-sized, weighing 3.5 ounces (0.1 kg). The deep chin and dagger-like canine teeth are similar to those of monkeys and the blunt molars suggest that the animal survived on fruits and insects.

The fossil - according to experts -dates back to about 40 million years, which makes it five million years older than the widely studied primitive primate fossils found in Egypt.

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