Rapid Asia-Europe-North America geographic dispersal of earliest Eocene primate Teilhardina during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Thierry Smith, Kenneth D. Rose, Philip D. Gingerich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

True primates appeared suddenly on all three northern continents during the 100,000-yr-duration Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum at the beginning of the Eocene, ≈55.5 mya. The simultaneous or nearly simultaneous appearance of euprimates on northern continents has been difficult to understand because the source area, immediate ancestors, and dispersal routes were all unknown. Now, omomyid haplorhine Teilhardina is known on all three continents in association with the carbon isotope excursion marking the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Relative position within the carbon isotope excursion indicates that Asian Teilhardina asiatica is oldest, European Teilhardina belgica is younger, and North American Teilhardina brandti and Teilhardina americana are, successively, youngest. Analysis of morphological characteristics of all four species supports an Asian origin and a westward Asia-to-Europe-to-North America dispersal for Teilhardina. High-resolution isotope stratigraphy indicates that this dispersal happened in an interval of ≈25,000 yr. Rapid geographic dispersal and morphological character evolution in Teilhardina reported here are consistent with rates observed in other contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11223-11227
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume103
Issue number30
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 25 2006

Keywords

  • Carbon isotope excursion
  • Euprimates
  • Omomyids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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