Monday, May 18, 2009

New primate fossil incredibly odd and out of place

Quick. An incredibly ancient (47 million years old) primate fossil was discovered that "may be a key link to explain evolution." (ABC News) Guess where they found it? Africa? Nope. Germany.

The specimen, named Darwinius masillae, is a juvenile female roughly the size of a raccoon, may have walked upright and had a curling tail, opposable thumbs and fingernails. Wow. Is Pound360 the only one floored that opposable thumbs and fingernails developed 47 million years ago? (After doing some research we learned it was discovered in 2007 that
opposable fingers have been around since the dinosaurs.)

The Darwinius masillae fossil happens to be "the most complete fossil primate ever discovered" and was so well preserved that "impressions of fur and the soft body outline are still clear." (
NY Times) Not only that, "the animal's last meal, of fruit and leaves, remained in the stomach cavity."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.