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Folia Primatol (Basel). 2006;77(6):446-64.

Lemuriform origins as viewed from the fossil record.

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Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, UMR 5143, Paris, France.


Fossils relevant to lemuriform origins are reviewed. Omanodon seems very close to the other early tooth-combed lemuriforms Karanisia, Wadilemur and Saharagalago, whereas Bugtilemur is rejected from the Lemuriformes. The Djebelemurinae, including Djebelemur and 'Anchomomys' milleri, are considered as stem lemuriforms preceding tooth comb differentiation; they are shown to be very distinct from European adapiforms. With tooth-combed lemuriforms present in Africa around 40 million years ago, and stem lemuriforms without tooth combs present on the same continent around 50-48 million years ago, a reasonable scenario can be proposed: tooth comb differentiation and lemuriform dispersal to Madagascar between 52-40 million years ago. The possible significance of Plesiopithecus for daubentoniid origins is raised. A critique of molecular dates is presented in the light of the fossil record. Azibiids are possibly early African prosimians. The timing of the dispersal of primates to Africa and the problem of strepsirhine origins are briefly examined.

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