The lower jaw of Pliopithecus canmatensis. Photo from EurekAlert.
Now back to the fossil. It seems that from the molars and lower jaw, the fossil belongs to the genus Pliopithecus, an extinct family of primitive Catarrhines (Old World Monkeys). This new species was named Pliopithecus canmatensis in honor of the rubbish dump it was found (the rubbish dump of Can Mata in the Vallès-Penedès basin of Catalonia, Spain). At a glance, the dental formula on the lower jaw seems consistent with those of Catarrhines, 2:1:2:3.
"Based on the anatomical, palaeobiographical and biostratigraphic information available, the most probable evolutionary scenario for this group is that the Pliopithecoidea were the first Catarrhini to disperse from Africa to Eurasia, where they experienced an evolutionary radiation in a continent initially deserted of other anthropoids (apes)", David Alba, main author of the study and researcher at the Catalan Institute for Palaeontology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), explains to SINC.
- EurekAlert, Discovery of a primate more than 11 million years old.
The analysis of this fossil, A new species of Pliopithecus Gervais, 1849 (Primates: Pliopithecidae) from the Middle Miocene (MN8) of Abocador de Can Mata (els Hostalets de Pierola, Catalonia, Spain), was published on American Journal of Physical Anthropology.