Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ida! Ida! Ida! (or Darwinius Masillae)

OK. Here's the timeline:

Britney Spears releases "Baby one more time": 10 years ago
Homo Sapiens settles predominantly around cities: 10,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens discovers Art: 40,000 - 50,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens: 90,000 - 250,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens - Neanterthal line split: 1 million years ago
Australopithicus Afarensis ("Lucy"): 3 - 4 million years ago
Chimpanzee - Human line split: 6 million years ago
Darwinius masillae("Ida"): 47 million years ago

The New York Times has good coverage, as do Pharyngula and Laelaps. From the NYT:

Speaking by telephone from Norway, Dr. Hurum recalled: “I realized at first it’s a primate. It just screams primate: opposable big toes and thumbs, no evidence of claws. This is like the Archaeopteryx of primate evolution.”

The scientists estimated that the primate was about 9 months old, the equivalent of a 6-year-old human. At maturity they suggest that it would have weighed two pounds and been two feet long, most of it tail. It had a broken left wrist, healing at the time of death, and may have drowned in the volcanic lake at Messel. It was, the researchers said, something like a combination “lemur monkey.”

PLoS ONE: Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology

All this reminds us of a post that Neddie wrote: Never in a Million Years.

UPDATE: and from our previously forgotten timeline:

Flowering Plants: 130 million years ago
Mammals: 200 million years ago


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