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Nature. 2015 Apr 23;520(7548):538-41. doi: 10.1038/nature14120. Epub 2015 Feb 4.

Eocene primates of South America and the African origins of New World monkeys.

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Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), División Paleontología Vertebrados, Museo de Ciencias Naturales de La Plata, B1900FWA La Plata, Argentina.
1] CONICET, Centro Nacional Patagónico, Boulevard Almirante Brown 2915, 9120 Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina [2] Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Sede Trelew, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia 'San Juan Bosco', 9100 Trelew, Chubut, Argentina.
Vertebrate Zoology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California 90007, USA.
1] CONICET, Sección Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales 'Bernardino Rivadavia', Avenida Ángel Gallardo 470, C1405DJR Buenos Aires, Argentina [2] Universidad Nacional de Luján, Departamento de Ciencias Básicas. Ruta Nacional 5 and Avenida Constitución, 6700 Luján, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
CONICET, Centro Nacional Patagónico, Boulevard Almirante Brown 2915, 9120 Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.


The platyrrhine primates, or New World monkeys, are immigrant mammals whose fossil record comes from Tertiary and Quaternary sediments of South America and the Caribbean Greater Antilles. The time and place of platyrrhine origins are some of the most controversial issues in primate palaeontology, although an African Palaeogene ancestry has been presumed by most primatologists. Until now, the oldest fossil records of New World monkeys have come from Salla, Bolivia, and date to approximately 26 million years ago, or the Late Oligocene epoch. Here we report the discovery of new primates from the ?Late Eocene epoch of Amazonian Peru, which extends the fossil record of primates in South America back approximately 10 million years. The new specimens are important for understanding the origin and early evolution of modern platyrrhine primates because they bear little resemblance to any extinct or living South American primate, but they do bear striking resemblances to Eocene African anthropoids, and our phylogenetic analysis suggests a relationship with African taxa. The discovery of these new primates brings the first appearance datum of caviomorph rodents and primates in South America back into close correspondence, but raises new questions about the timing and means of arrival of these two mammalian groups.

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