A new fossil which was recently discovered in Kenya may serve as the key to a gap in the evolutionary chain. The 22-million-year-old fossilized ancient monkey teeth belong to a newly-discovered species called Alophia metios.
The existence of these monkeys will complete the missing link between a 19-million-year-old fossil recovered from Uganda and an older fossil tooth unearthed in Tanzania. The new remains will also help researchers to learn more about their diet and how it changed as the creatures evolved. Since the African monkeys are a part of a well-known group, many researchers thought that they would be able to track down their evolutionary history without many issues, but the task seems to be more difficult than it was expected at first.
While the ancient monkey fossil recovered from Tanzania has provided some information, there was a considerable jump of six million years to the next relic, which represented a significant gap. The new fossils show the state of the monkey in the middle of the period, offering a substantial amount of useful information.
The recently found ancient monkey fossils are more primitive than other similar relics
The region where the fossils were discovered is quite barren today, but it used to be lush woodland millions of years ago. That allowed the ancient monkey populations to enjoy a stable life, having enough food and shelter to enjoy a safe existence.
The team has managed to recover hundreds of fossils, with some of them belonging to select species of mammals and reptiles. The monkey teeth that were recently found are a little more primitive in comparison to similar geologically younger fossils as the lack of a feature called lophs or molar crests. The name of the species Alophia highlights this particular trait.
At first, some of the researchers believed that the teeth could have belonged to a different species, but that was not the case. Further analysis proved that the teeth were, in fact, ancient monkey teeth as other specific traits were observed. The results of the study were published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.