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Temporal range: Late Middle Eocene Priabonian
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Lorisidae (See text)
Genus: Karanisia
Seiffert et al, 2003

K. arenula
K. clarki

Karanisia is an extinct genus of strepsirrhine primate and is represented by two species, K. clarki[1][2] and K. arenula.[3] Originally considered a crown lorisid, more comprehensive phylogenetic analyses suggest it is a more basal to living strepsirrhines, either as a stem lorisid or stem lemuroid.[4]

K. clarki was described in 2003 from isolated teeth and jaw fragments found in Late Middle Eocene (c. 40 million years ago) sediments of the Birket Qarun Formation in the Egyptian Faiyum.[5][6] The specimens indicate the presence of a toothcomb, making it the earliest fossil primate to indisputably bear this trait, which is unique to all living strepsirrhines (lemurs, lorises, and galagos).[6]

In 2010 a second species, K. arenula, was described in the journal Nature from Late Middle Eocene rocks in Libya.[3]


  1. ^ "Karanisia". The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Karanisia clarki". ZipCodeZoo.com. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  3. ^ a b Jaeger, J. J.; Beard, K. C.; Chaimanee, Y.; Salem, M.; Benammi, M.; Hlal, O.; Coster, P.; Bilal, A. A.; Duringer, P.; Schuster, M.; Valentin, X.; Marandat, B.; Marivaux, L.; Métais, E.; Hammuda, O.; Brunet, M. (2010). "Late middle Eocene epoch of Libya yields earliest known radiation of African anthropoids" (PDF). Nature. 467 (7319): 1095–1098. doi:10.1038/nature09425. PMID 20981098. 
  4. ^ Seiffert, E. R. (2012). "Early primate evolution in Afro-Arabia". Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews. 21 (6): 239–253. doi:10.1002/evan.21335. 
  5. ^ Seiffert, E.R.; Simons, E.L.; Attia, Y. (2003). "Fossil evidence for an ancient divergence of lorises and galagos". Nature. 422 (6930): 421–424. doi:10.1038/nature01489. PMID 12660781. 
  6. ^ a b Gould, Lisa; Sauther, Michelle L., eds. (2006). Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects) (1 ed.). Springer. pp. 7–8. ISBN 0-387-34585-X.