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Temporal range: Eocene - Miocene
Notharctus tenebrosus AMNH.jpg
Notharctus tenebrosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Infraorder: Adapiformes
Hoffstetter, 1977


Adapiformes is an extinct group of early primates. Adapiforms radiated throughout much of the northern continental mass, reaching as far south as northern Africa and tropical Asia. They existed from the Eocene to the Miocene epoch. Some adapiforms looked similar to living lemurs.

Adapiforms are known from the fossil record only, and it is unclear whether they form a monophyletic or paraphyletic group. When assumed to be a clade, they are usually grouped under the "wet-nosed" taxon Strepsirrhini, which would make them more closely related to the lemurs and less so to the "dry-nosed" Haplorrhini taxon that includes monkeys and apes.[1]

In 2009, Franzen and colleagues placed the newly described genus Darwinius in the "Adapoidea group of early primates representative of early haplorhine diversification" so that, according to these authors, the adapiforms would not be within the Strepsirrhini lineage as hitherto assumed but qualify as a stem "missing link" between Strepsirrhini and Haplorrhini.[2] However, subsequent analysis on the Darwinius fossil by Erik Seiffert and colleagues rejects this "missing link" idea, classifying Darwinius and other adapiforms within the Strepsirrhini.[3]


See also List of fossil primates


  1. ^ Callum Ross, Richard F. Kay, Anthropoid origins: new visions, Springer, 2004, ISBN 978-0-306-48120-8, p. 100
  2. ^ Franzen, Jens L.; et al. (2009). Hawks, John, ed. "Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology". PLoS ONE 4 (5): e5723. Bibcode:2009PLoSO...4.5723F. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005723. PMC 2683573. PMID 19492084. 
  3. ^ Ritter, M. (October 21, 2009). "Primate fossil called only a distant relative". Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • Beard, K. C., L. Marivaux, S. T. Tun, A. N. Soe, Y. Chaimanee, W. Htoon, B. Marandat, H. H. Aung, and J.-J. Jaeger. 2007. New silvaladapid primates from the Eocene Ponduang Formation of Myanmar and the anthropoid status of Amphipithecidae. Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 39:57-65.

External links[edit]