52 million years ago, strange primates lived in complete darkness in the Arctic

52 million years ago, strange primates lived in complete darkness in the Arctic

The earliest known Arctic primates (genus Ignatius) lived six months of white winter on Ellesmere Island in what is now Canada. They probably saw auroras, pictured here. (Image credit: Kristen Miller/Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas; (CC-BY 4.0))

About 52 million years ago, when the Arctic was warm and swampy but still shrouded in six months of darkness during the polar winter, two small primates scampered around, using their strong jaw muscles to chew the vegetation hard to survive in the gloomy North. pole, a new study finds.

The two newfound primates – belonging to the already established primate genus Ignatiusand the names of the new species were given I. people and I. mckennai — they were small, weighing an estimated 5 pounds each (2 kilograms). They are the earliest known example of primates living in the Arctic, according to a new study published Wednesday (January 25) in the journal PLOS One (opens in a new tab).

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