Monkey fossils unearthed in China date back 6.4 MILLION years and are the oldest to be found outside of Africa
Small fossils have been unearthed in China that belonged to a monkey about 6.4 million years ago.
The remains were found a southeastern Yunan Province mine, making them the oldest to be found outside of Africa.
Researchers from Penn State University have obtained a heelbone and jawbone with teeth that are believed to have been a female.
Although the fossils resemble bones of modern-day monkeys living in East Asia, the team found that the ancient animals had the ability to ferment cellulose – similar to that of today's cows.
The Penn State team worked with paleontologists at Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology to uncover the mysteries of the remains.
Together they reported that 'The mandible and proximal femur were found in close proximity and are probably of the same individual,' in a recent issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
The team determined the remains belonged to a female and believe this type of monkey was a 'jack of all trades' that roamed both through the trees and on land.
'The significance of the calcaneus is that it reveals the monkey was well adapted for moving nimbly and powerfully both on the ground and in the trees,' said Jablonski.
'This locomotor versatility no doubt contributed to the success of the species in dispersing across woodland corridors from Europe to Asia.'
The team was also given teeth from the ancient monkey that reveals it fed on a variety of plants, fruits and flowers.
'The thing that is fascinating about this monkey, that we know from molecular anthropology, is that, like other colobines (Old World monkeys), it had the ability to ferment cellulose,' said Jablonski. 'It had a gut similar to that of a cow.'
These monkeys survived on low-quality food that was high in cellulose, which gave them sufficient energy through fermentation that producedsubsequent fatty acids from the bacteria.
'Monkeys and apes would have been eating fundamentally different things,' said Jablonski.
'Apes eat fruits, flowers, things easy to digest, while monkeys eat leaves, seeds and even more mature leaves if they have to.'
'Because of this different digestion, they don't need to drink free water, getting all their water from vegetation.'
These monkeys did not live near bodies of water and the team says they were still able to survive in periods of dramatic climate change.
'These monkeys are the same as those found in Greece during the same time period,' said Jablonski.
Bailey21, UK, United Kingdom
I find this sort of stuff fascinating.
Cruelsea, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Probably left overs from a Chinese dinner
beth, west sussex
Coming to a soup near you soon
bigboy2019, bristol, United Kingdom
Probably eaten by some human back then.
bmxflyer73, grandstand , United Kingdom
China = fake
Alfred, Herts, United Kingdom, 1 day ago
As old as my mothering law
Evie, Vancouver, Canada, 1 day ago
Cheeps, Altrincham, United Kingdom
Chinese? Nuff said!
Eddy Ready, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Cruelsea, Plymouth, United Kingdom
I HATE CHINA I take pleasure in ordering Chinese food and sending it to other's
The Centurian, New London, Antarctica,
Stamped "Made in China" on the back of the scull.
Damocles, London, United Kingdom
Don't believe anything that comes out of China. It's all designed to polish the image.
Man on a Soapbox, London, United Kingdom,
express, bristol, United Kingdom, 18 hours ago
Wow that's old.