Anthropoid Origins in Asia? New Discovery of Amphipithecus from the Eocene of Burma

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Science  23 Aug 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4715, pp. 756-759
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4715.756


A new fossil of the primate Amphipithecus mogaungensis Colbert from the late Eocene of Burma shows that this species has a mandibular and molar morphology very similar to Oligocene and post-Oligocene higher primates. It has an exceptionally deep jaw. Its brachybunodont first and second molars have smooth enamel but lack hypoconulids. The shape of its second molar is nearly square—an advanced higher primate feature. Amphipithecus mogaungensis and related taxon Pondaungia cotteri Pilgrim are the earliest known higher primates. They suggest that Southeast Asia was an early theater of higher primate diversification.