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
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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