"Ida" not missing link in human evolution, claims scientist

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London, October 22 (ANI): A new analysis has determined that the exceptionally well-preserved fossil primate known as "Ida" is not a missing link as some have claimed, and it may have belonged to a group more closely linked to lemurs than to monkeys, apes or human beings.

According to a report by BBC News, Dr Erik Seiffert from Stony Brook University, US, carried out the analysis.

His team's conclusions come from an analysis of another fossil primate.

The newly described animal - known as Afradapis longicristatus - lived some 37 million years ago in northern Egypt, during the Eocene epoch, and the researchers say it was closely related to Ida.

Ida lived some 47 million years ago and was given the scientific name Darwinius masillae.

Dr Seiffert and his colleagues say that both Afradapis and Darwinius were in a sister group to the so-called "higher primates", which includes humans.

This extinct sister group, they say, was more closely related to lemurs and lorises.

"The suggestion that Ida was specifically related to the higher primates, namely monkeys apes and humans, was actually a minority view from the start. So, it came as a surprise to many of us who are studying primate palaeontology," said Dr Seiffert.

"Ida, which is a member of this genus called Darwinius, is in a fossil group called the Adapiforms which have traditionally been seen as more closely related to the lemurs and lorises - which live today in Madagascar, Africa and Asia - than to monkeys, apes and humans," he added.

This group, including this new specimen, has a lot of traits that are found in apes and monkeys.

"We have analysed a large data set based on observations we have made on almost 120 living and extinct primates and what we find is that Darwinius and this new genus that we've described are not part of our ancestry," said Dr Seiffert.

"They are more closely related to lemurs and lorises than they are to tarsirs or monkeys, apes and humans. This study would effectively remove Ida from our ancestry," he added. (ANI)

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