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October 2 2013

Tiny primate fossil throws evolutionary spotlight on Asia


The fossilized jaw of a pint-size primate that lived about 35 million years ago in Asia has been unearthed in Thai coal mines.

The new species, dubbed Krabia minuta, after the Krabi coal mines where it was found, was an ancient, extinct member of a group of primates called anthropoids, which includes the ancestors to all monkeys and apes, including humans. Even so, the creature showed peculiar features, including its distinct molars, not seen in other members of this primate group.

The tiny primate emerged during a mysterious period when primates somehow moved across a vast sea from Asia to Africa.

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