Ancient teeth from Peru suggest monkeys rafted across Atlantic from Africa

4 fossilized ape teeth uncovered deep in the Peruvian Amazon.com give brand-new proof that more than one team of old primates travelled across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa, according to brand-new USC research just published in the journal Scientific research.

The teeth are from a freshly discovered types belonging to an extinct family of African primates called parapithecids. Fossils uncovered at the same website in Peru had earlier offered the first proof that South American apes developed from African primates.

The monkeys are believed to have actually made the greater than 900-mile trip on floating boatings of plant life that broke off from coasts, possibly during a tornado.

” This is an entirely distinct exploration,” stated Erik Seiffert, the research’s lead author and Professor of Medical Integrative Anatomical Sciences at Keck Institution of Medicine of USC. “It shows that in addition to the New Globe apes as well as a group of rodents called caviomorphs– there is this third lineage of mammals that somehow made this extremely unlikely transatlantic trip to get from Africa to South America.”

Researchers have actually named the extinct monkey Ucayalipithecus perdita. The name comes from Ucayali, the location of the Peruvian Amazon.com where the teeth were discovered, pithikos, the Greek word for monkey as well as perdita, the Latin word for shed.

Ucayalipithecus perdita would have been extremely little, comparable in dimension to a modern-day marmoset.

Scientists think the site in Ucayali where the teeth were found is from a geological epoch called the Oligocene, which prolonged from about 34 million to 23 million years back.

“It would have been extremely difficult, though very small animals the size of Ucayalipithecus would be at an advantage over larger mammals in such a situation, because they would have needed less of the food and water that their raft of vegetation could have provided,” said lead author Erik Seiffert, a professor of clinical integrative anatomical sciences at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. The study published Thursday in the journal Science. “This is presumably why most of these overwater dispersal events that we know of in the fossil record involve very small animals,” Seiffert said.

Based on the age of the site and the distance of Ucayalipithecus to its fossil relatives from Egypt, scientists approximate the movement might have happened around 34 million years earlier.

Taking a trip from the Santa Rosa fossil site to Breu, Perú, by canoe. Credit History: Erik Seiffert

” We’re suggesting that this team may have made it over to South America right around what we call the Eocene-Oligocene Border, a time period in between two geological dates, when the Antarctic ice sheet started to accumulate and also the sea level fell,” stated Seiffert. “That may have played a role in making it a bit easier for these primates to in fact make clear the Atlantic Ocean.”

2 of the Ucayalipithecus perdita teeth were recognized by Argentinean co-authors of the study in 2015 showing that New Globe monkeys had African forebears. When Seiffert was asked to assist define these samplings in 2016, he noticed the similarity of both broken top molars to an extinct 32 million-year-old parapithecid monkey varieties from Egypt he had researched formerly.

An expedition to the Peruvian fossil site in 2016 brought about the discovery of two even more teeth coming from this new species. The resemblance of these added lower teeth to those of the Egyptian monkey teeth verified to Seiffert that Ucayalipithecus was descended from African forefathers

“The important things that strikes me concerning this research more than any other I have actually been involved in is just exactly how unlikely all of it is,” said Seiffert. “The fact that it’s this remote website in the middle of nowhere, that the possibilities of discovering these pieces is exceptionally small, to the fact that we’re revealing this extremely improbable journey that was made by these early apes, it’s all fairly amazing.”