As 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.
In June, an international team of paleontologists that included Northern Illinois University anthropologist Dan Gebo announced the discovery of a nearly complete, articulated skeleton of a new tiny, tree-dwelling primate dating back 55 million years.
The Eocene Epoch fossil, recovered from Hubei Province in central China, was described in the June 6 edition of the prestigious science journal, Nature.
“This is the oldest primate skeleton of this quality and completeness ever discovered and one of the most primitive primate fossils ever documented,” Gebo said. “The origin of primates sets the first milestone for all primate lineages, including that of humanity.”
Xijun Ni of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, led the research team.
Other authors on the article include Marian Dagosto of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago; K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh; Paul Tafforeau of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France; and Jin Meng and John Flynn of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.