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Research Article

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

  • Jens L. Franzen,

    Affiliations: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Philip D. Gingerich,

    Affiliation: Museum of Paleontology and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Jörg Habersetzer,

    Affiliation: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany

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  • Jørn H. Hurum mail,

    j.h.hurum@nhm.uio.no

    Affiliation: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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  • Wighart von Koenigswald,

    Affiliation: Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Paläontologie, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

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  • B. Holly Smith

    Affiliation: Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Published: May 19, 2009
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
  • Published in PLOS ONE

Reader Comments (13)

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What about the tail?

Posted by bsn8 on 31 May 2009 at 01:03 GMT

This fossil greatly intrigues me, but the publicity and the hype leaves many questions unanswered. With all the efforts to connect this fossil to human evolution, no one has yet addressed the creature's tail, which seems suspicious.

No competing interests declared.

RE: What about the tail?

keesey replied to bsn8 on 01 Jun 2009 at 04:59 GMT

The authors consider this species to be close to the ancestors of *all* haplorhine primates -- not just humans, but apes, monkeys, and tarsiers as well. (But note that some other scientists consider this species to be on the strepsirrhine side, closer to lemurs and lorises.)

Humans have many ancestors, most of which we share with other living species. The authors are definitely *not* positing this species as ancestral to humans and nothing else alive. Some of the hype has indeed been misleading (although that's true of most scientific discoveries, it seems).

No competing interests declared.