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Lecture 9

ANP202 Lecture 9

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Michigan State University
ANP 201

Lecture 9: Fossil Primates 3 Hypotheses on why primates first evolved: 1. Arboreal hypothesis- primate traits evolved as adaptation to life in the trees 2. Visual predation hypothesis- primate traits (e.g. stereoscopy, prehensile hands) evolved because they were useful for catching insects 3. Angiosperm radiation hypothesis- these traits evolved as adaptation to the new environment where flowering plants and fruits provided major food sources *In the Paleocene, we have the evidence of proprimates, primate-like mammals -e.g. Plesiadapis *Proprimates are not quite primate -Specialized dentition, small brain *Proprimates likely gave rise to true primate ancestors *At the beginning of the eocene, the earliest true primates (euprimates) appeared *2 families with prosimian-like features: -Adapids -Omomyids *They were widespread- western US, western Europe, Africa, Asia Adapids *Lemur-like *Likely ancestors of modern lemurs *Some claim that Adapids are ancestors of anthropoids as well (controversial) -Vertical incisors Omomyids *Tarsier-like *Likely ancestors of modern tarsiers *Possible ancestors of anthropoids (also controversial) *The anthropoid origin is unclear *Possible ancestors of anthropoids include: 1. True primates? -Adapids/Omomyids 55mya 2. Basal anthropoids? -Eosimias 42mya, China -Heal bone shows the tarsier-baboon intermediate form -Biretia, 37mya, Egypt -Two-cusped lower premolars Oligocene Primates *Global cooling produced new habitats- wet, warm, trop
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