New Middle Miocene Ape (Primates: Hylobatidae) from Ramnagar, India fills major gaps in the hominoid fossil record: New Middle Miocene Ape from Ramnagar

Christopher C. Gilbert, Alejandra Ortiz, Kelsey D. Pugh, Christopher J. Campisano, Biren A. Patel, Ningthoujam Premjit Singh, John G. Fleagle, Rajeev Patnaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fossil record of 'lesser apes' (i.e. hylobatids = gibbons and siamangs) is virtually non-existent before the latest Miocene of East Asia. However, molecular data strongly and consistently suggest that hylobatids should be present by approximately 20 Ma; thus, there are large temporal, geographical, and morphological gaps between early fossil apes in Africa and the earliest fossil hylobatids in China. Here, we describe a new approximately 12.5-13.8 Ma fossil ape from the Lower Siwaliks of Ramnagar, India, that fills in these long-standing gaps with implications for hylobatid origins. This ape represents the first new hominoid species discovered at Ramnagar in nearly a century, the first new Siwalik ape taxon in more than 30 years, and likely extends the hylobatid fossil record by approximately 5 Myr, providing a minimum age for hylobatid dispersal coeval to that of great apes. The presence of crown hylobatid molar features in the new species indicates an adaptive shift to a more frugivorous diet during the Middle Miocene, consistent with other proposed adaptations to frugivory (e.g. uricase gene silencing) during this time period as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20201655
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume287
Issue number1934
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asia
  • biogeography
  • fossil
  • gibbon
  • hylobatid
  • lower Siwaliks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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