From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Temporal range: Early Eocene–Middle Eocene
Notharctus tenebrosus AMNH.jpg
Notharctus tenebrosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Notharctidae
Subfamily: Notharctinae
Genus: Notharctus
Leidy, 1870

Notharctus pugnax
Notharctus robustior
Notharctus tenebrosus
Notharctus tyrannus
Notharctus venticolus

Notharctus was an early primate that inhabited Europe and North America 50 million years ago.[1] Modern lemurs evolved from primates similar to this genus.

Notharctus osborni skull

The body form of Notharctus is similar to that of modern lemurs. Unlike lemurs, however, Notharctus had a shorter face and forward-facing eyes surrounded by an enclosed circle of bone. Its fingers were elongated for clamping onto branches, including the development of a thumb. Its spine is flexible, like the living lemurs, and the animal was about 40 centimetres (16 in) in length, excluding the long tail.[2] It probably ate fruits and insects.

The lineage that includes Notharctus, the Adapiformes, is extinct; the last representative, Sivaladapis (Sivaladapidae), died out during the late Miocene.

There were at least five different Notharctus species. Fossils from at least seven other potential species have also been discovered.


  1. ^ Fleagle, J. G. (1998). Primate Adaptation and Evolution (2nd ed.). Academic Press. pp. 359–362. ISBN 0-12-260341-9. 
  2. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 287. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 

External links[edit]