Friday, May 22, 2009

Complete Primate Skeleton From the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology

There is PLoS ONE report, with photos, for the Darwinius masillae fossil, known as the Ida fossil or "missing link". It is titled Complete Primate Skeleton From the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology. Darwinius masillae represents the most complete fossil primate ever found, including both skeleton, soft body outline and contents of the digestive tract.

Time has a more readable account of this find at Ida: Humankind's Earliest Ancestor! (Not Really).

From the article:

The best European locality for complete Eocene mammal skeletons is Grube Messel, near Darmstadt, Germany. Although the site was surrounded by a para-tropical rain forest in the Eocene, primates are remarkably rare there, and only eight fragmentary specimens were known until now. Messel has now yielded a full primate skeleton. The specimen has an unusual history: it was privately collected and sold in two parts, with only the lesser part previously known. The second part, which has just come to light, shows the skeleton to be the most complete primate known in the fossil record.

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