New Species Found: Thai Fossils Reveal Ancient Primate
A handful of fossil jaws from a Thai coal mine belong to a new species of nocturnal primates called tarsiers, scientists say.
Tarsiers are primates that share a common ancestor with monkeys and humans. The big-eyed, nocturnal animals are today found mostly in Southeast Asia. (See a picture of a a pygmy tarsier found in Indonesia.)
The new species—named Tarsius sirindhornae—lived about 13 million years ago. Based on the fossil jaws, the whole animal would have weighed up to 6 ounces (180 grams), making it the largest known tarsier, said study leader Yaowalak Chaimanee, a geologist with Thailand's Department of Mineral Resources.
Chaimanee and her team recently found 18 jawbone fossils from the new species in an old coal mine in Lampang Province. Each jaw holds