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Primate origins: Implications of a cretaceous ancestry

Martin, RD; Soligo, C; Tavare, S; (2007) Primate origins: Implications of a cretaceous ancestry. FOLIA PRIMATOLOGICA , 78 (5-6) 277 - 296. 10.1159/000105145.

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It has long been accepted that the adaptive radiation of modern placental mammals, like that of modern birds, did not begin until after the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary 65 million years (Ma) ago, following the extinction of the dinosaurs. The first undoubted fossil relatives of modern primates appear in the record 55 Ma ago. However, in agreement with evidence from molecular phylogenies calibrated with dates from denser parts of the fossil record, a statistical analysis of the primate record allowing for major gaps now indicates a Cretaceous origin of euprimates 80 - 90 Ma ago. If this interpretation is correct, primates overlapped with dinosaurs by some 20 Ma prior to the K/T boundary, and the initial radiation of primates was probably truncated as part of the major extinction event that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous. Following a review of evidence for an early origin of primates, implications of this are discussed with respect to the likely ancestral condition for primates, including a southern continental area of origin and moderately large body size. The known early Tertiary primates are reinterpreted as northern continental offshoots of a 'second wave' of primate evolution. Copyright (C) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Type: Article
Title: Primate origins: Implications of a cretaceous ancestry
Location: Nat Hist Museum, London, ENGLAND
DOI: 10.1159/000105145
Keywords: ancestral primates, body size, continental drift, fossil record, cretaceous/tertiary boundary, palaeoclimates, primate origins, MULTIPLE GENE LOCI, FOSSIL RECORD, PLACENTAL MAMMALS, DIVERGENCE TIMES, MOLECULAR CLOCKS, EVOLUTIONARY CONTEXT, ANTHROPOID ORIGINS, CALIBRATION POINTS, TERTIARY BOUNDARY, MAJOR CLADES
UCL classification: UCL > Office of the President and Provost
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/168240
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