Paleontologists in the United States have discovered and analyzed the fossilized remains of two species of Purgatorius, the oldest genus of a group of the earliest known primates called Plesiadapiformes.
Plesiadapiformes first appeared during the Paleocene epoch, between 65 and 55 million years ago, although many disappeared at the beginning of the Eocene epoch.
These ancient primates were small in stature and had specialized insect and fruit diets that varied among species.
They are essential for understanding the evolutionary and ecological origins of primates, tree shrubs, and colugos, as well as the traits that separate these groups from other mammals.
Five new isolated plesiadapiform teeth were recovered from the Harley’s Point locality of the Fort Union Formation in northeastern Montana.
The fossils are estimated at 65.9…
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