Did ancient primates walk alongside T. rex? New evidence backs up theory.
The oldest known primate fossils were dated to just after the extinction event 66 million years ago—suggesting some primate ancestors lived even longer ago.
Shortly after an asteroid strike triggered a cataclysmic extinction event 66 million years ago, a group of mammals with a proclivity for climbing trees and eating fruit began to thrive. These animals—the early relatives of primates—would give rise to a lineage that led to the first monkeys, including great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and eventually, humans.
Now, scientists have discovered fossils of the oldest known primate among a cache of unusual teeth tucked away in a museum drawer for decades. Some of these teeth, recently described in the journal Royal Society Open Science, belonged to the new species Purgatorius mckeeveri, a pint-sized precursor to modern primates that lived 65.9 million years ago, just 100,000 years after the extinction event