Know Your Primate: Saturday Edition

Order Primates
Suborder Anthropoidea
Superfamily Ateloidea
Family Cebidae
Subfamily Cebinae
Species: Killikaike blakei
Killikaike blakei is a fossil species dating to the Miocene. Specimens were described and the species named back in March of 2006. The fossils come from Argentina.

Killikaike blakei is characterised by a relatively short face, narrow interorbital region, deep orbits, high arched frontals, complete post orbital closure and non-bunodont teeth. It’s dental formula is and its’ dental arcade is not u-shaped like in other cebids. Size of the anterior cranial fossa was used to estimate brain size – apparently Killikaike blakei had a similar size brain to modern species such as Cebus and Saimiri
Tejedor et 2006 sum up Killikaike blakei thusly:

At 16.4 million years, K. blakei presents a primitive cebine facial and dental structure but an advanced brain, whereas contemporaneous apes had brain sizes that were unexceptional and probably smaller than the modern norms. The importance of facial foreshortening and broadening of the snout and premolars in modern cebines remains to be determined, but these features are probably connected with processing tough insects and ripping or tearing fibrous woody materials to harvest embedded food. The absence of these features in Killikaike suggests a brain-firstteeth-second adaptive sequence in the mosaic evolution of their extractive foraging-feeding specialization, with problem-solving skills and manual dexterity preceding oral-harvesting and food-processing adaptations.

Literature Cited:
Marcelo F. Tejedor, Ada´n A. Tauber, Alfred L. Rosenberger, Carl C. Swisher III, and Marı´a E. Palacios, 2006 New primate genus from the Miocene of Argentina, PNAS 103(14):5434-5441

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