As per a recent study, it has been speculated that Earth’s most primitive primate was a tree dweller, and it looked typically like a squirrel. This new information was revealed after intense studies conducted on 65-million-year-old ankle bones. The ankle bones were discovered from different sites in North Eastern Montana.
The newly found primate has been named, ‘Purgatorius’. It is believed that this mammal lived on a diet of fruits and insects, and it was a tree dweller. The studies were conducted by paleontologists in the Yale University.
Purgatorius is the part of the extinct ‘plesiadapiforms’ group. This group first appears in the fossil record shortly after the extinction of non avian dinosaurs. Many studies claim that the plesiadapiforms were terrestrial in their initial days, but later they started climbing up the trees.
Stephen Chester, the lead author of this paper told that he still remembers the lessons which taught him the terrestrial nature of Purgatorius. But now, he hopes that this new study will place Purgatorius in the trees where it rightfully belongs. Chester is now working as an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
Till now, paleontologists had only the teeth and jaws of the primates to examine. This limited accessibility has prevented researchers to know more details about the behavior. The identification of ankles has now given a better idea about the way in which these creatures lived.
Chester added that the ankle bones discovered have mobility features that are only present in primates of today’s world.