Sunday, July 18, 2010

Human lineage split from monkeys later than thought: study

The last ancestor shared by monkeys and humans probably lived between 28 and 24 million years ago, several million later than previously thought, fossils unveiled Wednesday have revealed.

A partial skull of the unknown species, found in western Saudi Arabia, rewrites the timeline of primate evolution and fills in a yawning gap in the fossil record, the researchers said.

Up to now, genome-based analysis put the split between hominoids -- which includes apes and humans -- and cercopithecoids, or so-called Old World monkeys, at 35 to 30 million years ago.

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