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News Link • Anthropology

Analysis puts face on 'cute' distant cousin


Cute, right?

Yet the Archicebus achilles is not a pet, it's the relative of a remote human ancestor.

Chinese paleontologist Ni Xijun and his colleagues publish a study on the 55-million-year-old primate fossil in the prestigious journal Nature on Thursday.

The discovery provides insight into the earliest phases of primate evolution, according to a news release from Nature.

The ancient primate's name, Archicebus achilles, makes a reference to the animal's anthropoidlike heel bone.

"Previous fossil evidence shows anthropoids diverged from other primates around 45 million years ago, but our analysis of the new fossil brings the time forward by 10 million years," Ni of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology said at a news conference. "It means the evolutionary history of human lineage could be much longer than we thought."

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