The species would have looked similar to a gibbon (pictured). Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Julielangford
Unearthed within the Napudet area of Kenya, the fossil skull is particularly well preserved because the animal had been engulfed, along with its forest home, by a devastating volcanic eruption.
Named Nyanzapithecus alesi, this prehistoric primate, which lived approximately 13 million years ago, was a small and agile tree-dwelling creature not dissimilar to today’s gibbons.
â€” Press Science (@PressSci) August 9, 2017
“Nyanzapithecus alesi was part of a group of primates that existed in Africa for over 10 million years,” said study lead author Dr Isaiah Nengo of Stony Brook University.
“What the discovery of Alesi shows is that this group was close to the origin of living apes and humans and that this origin was African.”