Picture of the Day

Oldest primate skeleton

This nearly complete, articulated skeleton of a tiny, tree-dwelling primate named Archicebus achilles was encased within a rock and discovered after the rock was split open, yielding a skeleton and impressions of primate bones on each side of the two rock halves (one half is pictured here). The fossil, discovered by an international team of paleontologists, was found in Hubei Province in central China and dates back 55 million years. "This is the oldest primate skeleton of this quality and completeness ever discovered and one of the most primitive primate fossils ever documented," said Dan Gebo, an anthropologist on the team from Northern Illinois University (NIU). "The origin of primates sets the first milestone for all primate lineages, including that of humanity."

Visit Website | Image credit: Dr. Xijun Ni, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing (China)