Dehradun, September 9
An worldwide crew of researchers has unearthed a 13-million-year-old fossil of a newly found ape species in Uttarakhand, which is the earliest identified ancestor of the modern-day gibbon.
The discovering, printed within the journal ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society B’, fills a serious void within the ape fossil report and gives essential new proof about when the ancestors of right this moment’s gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa.
The fossil, an entire decrease molar, belongs to a beforehand unknown genus and species (Kapi ramnagarensis), and represents the primary new fossil ape species found on the well-known fossil web site of Ramnagar in almost a century.
The researchers, together with these from Arizona State University within the US and Panjab University in Chandigarh, had been climbing a small hill in an space the place a fossil primate jaw had been discovered the yr earlier than.
While pausing for a brief relaxation, the crew noticed one thing shiny in a small pile of filth on the bottom.
“We knew immediately it was a primate tooth, but it did not look like the tooth of any of the primates previously found in the area,” stated Christopher C Gilbert, from City University of New York.
“From the form and measurement of the molar, our preliminary guess was that it may be from a gibbon ancestor, however that appeared too good to be true, provided that the fossil report of lesser apes is nearly nonexistent,” Gilbert famous.
He defined that there have been different primate species identified throughout that point, and no gibbon fossils have beforehand been discovered wherever close to Ramnagar.
Since the fossil’s discovery in 2015, years of examine, evaluation, and comparability had been carried out to confirm that the tooth belongs to a brand new species, in addition to to precisely decide its place within the ape household tree, stated the researchers.
The molar was photographed and CT-scanned, and comparative samples of residing and extinct ape enamel had been examined to focus on essential similarities and variations in dental anatomy, they stated.
“What we found was quite compelling and undeniably pointed to the close affinities of the 13-million-year-old tooth with gibbons,” stated Alejandra Ortiz, from Arizona State University, who’s a part of the analysis crew.
“Even if, for now, we only have one tooth, and thus, we need to be cautious, this is a unique discovery. It pushes back the oldest known fossil record of gibbons by at least five million years, providing a much-needed glimpse into the early stages of their evolutionary history,” stated Ortiz.
The researchers famous that the age of the fossil, round 13 million years outdated, is contemporaneous with well-known nice ape fossils.
This gives proof that the migration of nice apes, together with orangutan ancestors, and lesser apes from Africa to Asia occurred across the identical time and thru the identical locations, they stated.
“I found the biogeographic component to be really interesting,” stated Chris Campisano from Arizona State University.
“Today, gibbons and orangutans can each be present in Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia, and the oldest fossil apes are from Africa.
“Knowing that gibbon and orangutan ancestors existed in the same spot together in northern India 13 million years ago, and may have a similar migration history across Asia, is pretty cool,” Campisano added. PTI