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Temporal range: late Paleocene[1]
Carpolestes simpsoni
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Plesiadapiformes
Family: Carpolestidae
Genus: Carpolestes
Simpson, 1928
Type species
Carpolestes nigridens

C. dubius Jepsen, 1930
C. nigridens Simpson, 1928
C. simpsoni Bloch and Gingerich, 1998
C. twelvemilensis Mattingly, Sanisidro & Beard, 2017

Carpolestes is a genus of extinct primate-like mammals from the late Paleocene of North America. It first existed around 58 million years ago. The three species of Carpolestes appear to form a lineage, with the earliest occurring species, C. dubius, ancestral to the type species, C. nigridens, which, in turn, was ancestral to the most recently occurring species, C. simpsoni.[1]

Carpolestes had flattened fingernails on its feet but with claws on its fingers.[2] Morphologically it supports Robert Sussman's theory[3] of the co-evolution of tropical fruiting Angiosperms and early primates where Angiosperms provide nectar and fruits in return for dispersing the seed for tropical rainforest plants. It appears to have been a distant relative of the Plesiadapiforms such as Plesiadapis.


  1. ^ a b c Bloch, J.I.; D.C. Fisher; K.D. Rose & P.D. Gingerich (2001). "Stratocladistic analysis of Paleocene Carpolestidae (Mammalia, Plesiadapiformes) with description of a new late Tiffanian genus". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 21 (1): 119–131. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2001)021[0119:SAOPCM]2.0.CO;2.
  2. ^ Helen Pilcher "Flower Child" in New Scientist, The Collection, The Human Story (2014)
  3. ^ Sussman, Robert “Primate origins and the Evolution of Angiosperms” in American Journal of Primatology Vol 23, No.4 (1991) pp209-223