In Peru’s Amazon jungle, scientists have uncovered an 18-million-year-old remains of the smallest fossil monkey every found in the world.
Peruvian and American scientists found the tiny monkey, no heavier than a hamster, that could help in bridging the 15-million-year gap for New World monkeys fossil record.
A team lead by Duke University and the National University of Piura in Peru unearthed 2,000 pounds of other fossils of rodents, bats, and other animals, before discovering the fossil in a river bank along Rio Alto Madre de Dios located in the southeastern part of Peru.
“Primate fossils are as rare as hen’s teeth,” Richard Kay, first author and a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. He has also been doing paleontological research in South American for nearly 40 years.
Kay said they found a single upper molar of the specimen, which can be compared to the size of the head of a pin. From the monkey teeth, paleontologists could already find out what kind of animal it had eaten.
“It’s by far the smallest fossil monkey that’s ever been found worldwide,” Kay said. “Only one monkey species [is] alive today, the teacup-sized pygmy marmoset, is smaller, but barely.”
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