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Found fossilized remains of a 4 million year old monkey

A research team from around the world has discovered the fossil remains of a monkey living in Kenya 4.2 million years ago.

Known as Nanopithecus browni this monkey is the "smallest old world" "monkey" ever discovered and weighs only 2 to 3 pounds, similar to a cottontail rabbit. It is also the size of today's Talapoin monkey, which is distributed throughout Africa according to the Encyclopedia of Life.

Found by researchers of the National Museums of Kenya, University of Arkansas, University of Missouri and Duke University, Nanopithecus browni could throw a new light on the Guenon evolution, which is still "bad" by researchers understood ".

  middle, would have been. The typical domestic cat for scale comparison included. (Source: Carol Ward)

Typical Guenon (Allenopithecus), left compared to the middle Nanopithecus browni. The typical domestic cat for scale comparison included. (Credit: Carol Ward)


"The discovery of Nanopithecus browni reaffirms Kenya's contribution to understanding the evolution and diversity of the Pliocene fauna and its environment has lived" Project leader Fredrick Kyalo Manthi said in a statement.

"Environmental changes during the Plio-Pleistocene may have influenced the current distribution of Guenones," Manthi added.

The Nanopithecus browni was found in the Kanapoi area of ​​Kenya, where some of the earliest known human ancestors were found.

  This is the area of ​​Kanapoi in Kenya, East Africa. (Source: Carol Ward)

This is the Kanapoi site in Kenya, East Africa. (Credit: Carol Ward)

The researchers analyzed the teeth of the nanopithecus and found that they were the same size as those of the Miopithecus. The researchers also discovered a part of the lower jaw in which two worn-out teeth were preserved.

"Tooth size and proportions, as well as the analysis of the relative size of the humps and the development of the shearing combs, clearly differentiate the fossil from all known guenons", says the abstract state of the study. 19659003] The abstract of the study adds that the small size has lived "early in the lineage" and that the small body size is not clearly related to the current habitat of Miopithecus and that relatives of existing Miopithecus may have been much more prevalent in the past.

Modern Talapoins live in tropical forests, but the cause for the development of the apes is still unclear, it is thought to be a change in the forest habitat, but that is only a guess.

The study was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

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