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Researchers study fossils belonging to tiny early primates

by News Desk
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In the back hall of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, surrounded by shelves of giant fossils such as Triceratops and Albertasaurus, Craig Scott peers through the microscope at the tiny jawbones of an unknown pair of early primates.

“The mammalian fossil record is dominated by teeth because enamel resists the process of fossilization,” says Tyrrell. said Scott, the museum’s director of conservation and research. .

“These species, along with all their relatives, lie very low on the primate tree. They are early branches, some of which have been around for a period of time and are said to be extinct.” I think the best way to describe it would be to describe it as an “interesting evolutionary experiment”. ”

The prehistoric primates Scott studies were not ape-like primates. Rather, they were small, the size of large rodents, and looked like tiny lemurs.

“They probably didn’t have positive eyes. Their eyes were a little more lateral to the sides, like you see on squirrels, for example,” said Scott.

“Their brains were not particularly large relative to their body size. It must have been

Craig Scott of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alta.

4 sites in Calgary

Although fossils were found at four locations in the Calgary and Cochrane areas in the 1990s and early 2000s, it is only recently that fossils have been identified as a new species of primate. They include the Edwardsie Park site in Calgary and the Glenbow His Ranch State Park site, which is reflected in the name Scott gave to the new species.

Two other locations include exposed cuts along West Nose Creek in northwest Calgary and railroad tracks at the eastern end of Cochrane.

The animals eventually went extinct, but Scott says the discovery of the new species will help fill gaps in our understanding of human evolutionary history.

“As humans, we have a strong interest in understanding the evolutionary history of our bloodlines,” Scott said. TRUE. Therefore, the evolution of humans and primates, and more generally, these are of great importance. ”

different climates

The find also supports the idea that even western Canada and the high Arctic regions had a much different climate and landscape long ago.

“This suggests that it was a very interesting ecosystem, very different from what we see today. It was,” said Scott.

“We’re talking about a subtropical environment, heavy rainfall, humidity, and lush forests bordering rivers and streams that make up the landscape.”

The new primates have been given the names ‘Edworthia Gledge’ and ‘Ignatius glenbowensis’.

washed away

The 2013 flood washed away where Edworthia Greggi and Ignacius Glenbowensis were found, but Scott expects more early primate fossils to be found across Alberta in the future. .

“All the work that’s been done so far really just scratches the surface,” says Scott.

“Given the amount of rock in the state and its very well-established fossil history, we will almost certainly encounter new species in the future.”

If you find a fossil, or what you think is a fossil, don’t dig it up and take it home. Doing so could be against the law.

Instead, take a photo, make a careful note of the location, and contact the Royal Tyrrell Museum. https://tyrrellmuseum.com/research/found_a_fossil

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