Friday Know Your Primate: Mesopithecus pentelici

Today we have our first fossil primate.
Infraorder: Catarrhini
Family: Cercopithecidae
Subfamily: Colobinae
Genus: Mesopithecus
Species: Mesopithecus pentelici, M. monspessulanus

The above is a picture of the skull of M. pentelici which dates to 11-6 MYA and is found in southern and central Europe and parts of Iran and Afghanistan. Cranially and dentally Mesopithecus is like most colobines (except it has a fairly long face, per Conroy although Fleagle says it has a short face – to me it looks kind of longish). Mesopithecus has large eye orbits, a wide interorbital distance and a narrow nasal opening. The incisors are relatively small and the molars are high crowned. Postcranially, it’s skeleton is more robust and macaquelike (but it does have a long tail). Both species were sexually dimorphic. All things considered, Mesopithecus was terrestrial and folivorous (although M. monspessulanus lived in a more woodland environment). Mesopithecus pentelici was the larger of the two species…

2 Responses

  1. My, what big teeth he had.

  2. Yeah, the canines do seem a bit robust…

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