The ancient ancestor of all simians and homo sapiens has turned out to be diminutive much to the surprise of the paleontologists. At least that is what the fossil record of the creature shows.
Most apes and simians not to mention human beings weigh quite a lot. Yet the ancestor of all these primates was a small female as her fossil remains so conclusively show. The expectations of the scientists were that this ancient matriarch must have been hefty too. But such is not the case.
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The scattered bones of the 11.6 million year old ape have shook the scientists and destroyed their obsolete models. This old female had a small mouth and a large brain size. But it had the overall size and mass of a midget.
Its characteristics were such that it resembled a gibbon in appearance. And it is linked to all the apes and humans that came after it. Its weight was merely four or five kilograms. This is preposterous but true. The relics of this ancient mother of primates was found near Barcelona, Spain. Europe, Asia and Africa were the abode of several early apes.
About 25 million year ago, the lineages of apes and monkeys split and since than the apes saw a renaissance of sorts. More than 30 different apes evolved over a certain duration. 17 million years ago the apes themselves split into two kinds of which one branch culminated in the homo sapiens (human beings that is).
For a long time it was thought that smaller apes were related to gibbons and had nothing to do with humans. But the remains of Pliobates Cataloniae have challenged this hypothesis. Among the bits and pieces that have been unearthed may be included an upper jaw, muzzle, arm, hand and hind bones.
A CAT Scan was used to examine the skullpiece the bones of which were available in crushed fragments. The cranium lent valuable clues about the links between this antique ape and us modern humans. The habits of this ancient ape must have been such that it undertook locomotion in a slow manner. It shared features with both the greater apes and lesser apes.
This alone makes it unique. However, scientists have cautioned against considering this to be the be all and end all of research. There lie more clues which will be unearthed as paleontology progresses with the times.
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