Researchers have discovered the skull of a 29 million-year-old animal that could be a common ancestor of Old World monkeys and apes, including humans.
It indicates that apes and Old World monkeys diverged millions of years later than previously thought, say the scientists.
The discovery was made in Saudi Arabia by researchers from the University of Michigan.
They described the primate, Saadanius hijazensis, in the journal Nature.
Dr William Sanders from the University of Michigan, who led the research, said this was “an extraordinary find”.
The skull of this previously unknown species had some features that are shared by Old World monkeys and apes, including humans, today
“Saadanius is close to a group that eventually led to us,” said Dr Sanders.
This is very interesting and potentially exciting news, and one of the things that I love about this story is it’s cautious tone, e.g. “could be a common ancestor” and “we need to get out into the field and get more data before making bigger claims”.
The scientific method at its finest.
Oh and I wonder what the creationist response we be? Let me guess….
“Nuh ha”, or [with fingers in ears] “la la la la la la la”
…but don’t quote me on that!
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