Very old animal - level 3
At 55 million years old Archcebus achilles could be the oldest primate fossil humans have ever discovered. It's important because it was found in China questing the long held belief that primates began their evolution in Africa.
By using computer technology, researchers created an image of the animal.
"After the fossil was scanned with radiation we could see the other side of it, which meant we were able to reconstruct it."
The animal was about the size of a mouse. It had monkey feet and humanoid-like hands. The researches reckon it wasn't nocturnal like similar ancient species.
"According to our analysis this primate was more active during the day. Originally we had a theory that all animals were nocturnal and it took a long time for apes to become diurnal. However, this fossil proves that apes were diurnal a long time ago."
The scientists say the fossil represents a point in evolution when primates diverged into two groups--tarsier primates and anthropoids--whose modern descendants include monkeys and humans.
"Now we've discovered this fossil we can say without any doubt that the evolution history of mankind started ten million years earlier than we had expected."
The fossil's going to continue to be studied so we can learn more about when and where the evolution of modern primates began.
Interesting words: humanoid-like (looking like a human), (reckon (think), nocturnal (active at night), diurnal (active during the day), diverged (split).
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