Science • Archaeology & History
2021-01-05T12:00:01+00:00

Ancient teeth from Peru hint now-extinct monkeys crossed Atlantic from Africa

"This is a completely unique discovery," said Erik Seiffert, the study's lead author and Professor of Clinical Integrative Anatomical Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC. "We're suggesting that this group might have made it over to South America right around what we call the Eocene-Oligocene Boundary, a time period between two geological epochs when the Antarctic ice sheet started to build up and the sea level fell," said Seiffert.

When Seiffert was asked to help describe these specimens in 2016, he noticed the similarity of the two broken upper molars to an extinct 32 million-year-old parapithecid monkey species from Egypt he had studied previously. Fossils discovered at the same site in Peru had earlier offered the first proof that South American monkeys evolved from African primates.

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