Tuesday , January 18 2022

The mysterious origin of the extinct Jamaican monkeys was resolved by DNA testing.



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Tity monkeys (photos) in South America are relatives of extinct Xenothrix monkeys.
Image: ZSL

For almost 100 years, scientists have failed to agree on the evolutionary origin of the strange, extinct monkeys that lived and flourished in Jamaica for thousands of years. New research suggests that the ancestors came from South America, and life on this tropical island has acquired the marvelous characteristics of that species.

This extinct Jamaican monkey Xenothrix mcgregoriWas first discovered by scientists in the 1920s and found traces of the skull and teeth. Subsequent discoveries, including other skulls, leg bones, jawbone, etc., have suggested monkey species that are different from other known, extinct or existing species.

Living in Jamaica, Gennothri There was no need to compete with predators. It strangely had rodents like legs, relatively few teeth and a loris that resembled petite. This little monkey would have looked like a wooden string. Researchers compare sizes with capuchin monkeys that are only 12 to 22 inches long. With strange features GennothriSome experts speculate that they came from a unique and unknown branch of ancient New World primates. Scientists have found it difficult to obtain DNA from the bones of this extinct tropical animal, in addition to suffering in strange form. High temperatures and humidity destroy DNA very quickly.

The teeth and partial palate of the extinct Jamaican monkey.
Image: ZSL

New research published this week at the National Academy of Proceedings shows more clearly the history of this mysterious primate. 4 gene analysis Gennothri The specimens found in the Jamaica cave suggest that it is closely related to the Latin American monkeys. These creatures may have arrived at Jamaica by clinging to the floating raft of plants, the researchers say. The latest research was conducted by the London Zoo Society (ZSL), the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London and the American Natural History Museum.

Gennothri The researchers write that the researchers arrived at the new island environment and colonized it, saying, "They are extremely derived Tithy monkeys that have undergone physical planning changes."

"Ancient DNA means that a Jamaican monkey is not a distinct terrain of a New World monkey but a true monkey with a unique morphological character," said Ross MacPhee, co-author of the study and a scientist at the National Museum of Natural History in the United States. The mammalian department said in a statement.

Sediments recovered from this specimen date from relatively recent 1,400 to 900 years ago. So these creatures are likely to live with human settlers. GennothriResearchers say Caribbean primates are the last to survive. The team used a defined dating technique known as Accelerometer Mass Spectrometry (AMS) to collect samples. Interestingly, this date coincides roughly with the story of European settlers who depicted unknown monkey animals living on the island.

Genetic analysis Gennothri Approximately 11 million years ago, during the mid-to-mid-term, we arrived in Jamaica in South America. DNA evidence also suggests that Gennothri I arrived at the island several times. Researchers say these animals cling to rafts of natural plants that flowed out of large rivers in South America. These ancient monkeys were not the only South American animals that survived such aquatic journeys. Existing large rodents called hutias are likely to arrive on Caribbean island in a similar way.

This study also shows how the island environment can dramatically affect the evolutionary orbits of animals. On the island, small elephants such as "Hobbit" humans, giant birds and mice, and, in this case, lazy primates were produced.

"A new understanding of the history of this theory of evolution Gennothri It shows that evolution can take an unexpected path when animals colonize the island and are exposed to a new environment. "Said ZSL scientist and co-author Samuel Turvey." However, extinction GennothriIn the face of human impact, we are emphasizing the unique vulnerability of the island to biodiversity. "

How do researchers or why Gennothri It has become extinct, but hunting and extinction of habitats may have worked in part.

When inferring the correct appearance Gennothri, It is more difficult because of poor fossil record. The researchers say they will probably look like kinka or night monkeys.

The Titian monkey, still alive today, is a small, woody creature characterized by long, soft fur in red, brown, gray and black. These animals are highly vocal, rich in territory and active during the day. Tithy monkeys live for 12 years, and their father often cares for a child.

[Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]
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