missing link no longer missing? early primate provides evolution clues

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scientists say they’ve found and studied a complete fossil of a primate that is likely to be an early ancestor of the human species. this exciting finding may be an important “snapshot” from the time when humans, apes and monkeys diverged from the other primates such as lemurs.

a brand-new documentary, titled “the link” is set to air soon in the US, UK, norway and germany. a trailer and air dates are presented at revealingthelink.com.

Early Primate Provides Evolution Clues
Scientists say a 47-million-year-old fossil found in Germany may be a key link to explaining the evolution of early primates and, perhaps, telling them about developments that led to modern human beings.
The fossil, of a young female that probably resembled a modern-day lemur, is described as “the most complete primate fossil ever found.” It is small — its body is about the size of a raccoon — but it has characteristics found in later primates and in humans.
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It has, among other things, opposable thumbs, similar to humans’ and unlike those found on other modern mammals. It has fingernails instead of claws. And by examining the structure of its hind legs (one of which is partly missing), scientists say they can see evidence of evolutionary changes that would eventually lead to primates standing upright.
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“She is a transitional species showing characteristics from both the non-human (prosimians and lemurs) and human (anthropoids, monkeys, apes and man) evolutionary lines,” said the producers in a statement reviewed by the authors of the PLoS One paper.

source: abcnews.go.com

the full, scientific publication is available at www.plosone.org. it includes stunning pictures, x-rays and CTs.
here’s part of the paper’s conclusion:

Darwinius masillae represents the most complete fossil primate ever found, including both skeleton, soft body outline and contents of the digestive tract. Study of all these features allows a fairly complete reconstruction of life history, locomotion, and diet. Any future study of Eocene-Oligocene primates should benefit from information preserved in the Darwinius holotype.

 

update: just found a short excerpt of the documentary from sky-news:

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