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The anthropoid status of a primate from the late middle Eocene Pondaung Formation (Central Myanmar): Tarsal evidence
- Primate dental and postcranial remains from the Eocene Pondaung Formation (Myanmar) have been the subject of considerable confusion since their initial discoveries, and their anthropoid status has been widely debated. We report here a well preserved primate talus discovered in the Segyauk locality near Mogaung that displays derived anatomical features typical of haplorhines, notably anthropoids, and lacks strepsirhine synapomorphies. Linear discriminant and parsimony analyses indicate that the talus from Myanmar is more similar structurally to those of living and extinct anthropoids than to those of adapiforms, and its overall osteological characteristics further point to arboreal quadrupedalism. Regressions of talar dimensions versus body mass in living primates indicate that this foot bone might have belonged to Amphipithecus. This evidence supports hypotheses favoring anthropoid affinities for the large-bodied primates from Pondaung and runs contrary to the hypothesis that Pondaungia and Amphipithecus are strepsirhine adapiforms.
Aung Naing Soe
Soe Thura Tun
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)