A new species of Apidium (Anthropoidea, Parapithecidae) from the Sirt Basin, central Libya: First record of Oligocene primates from Libya



Beard KC, Coster PM, Salem MJ, Chaimanee Y, Jaeger JJ.


J Hum Evol. 2016 Jan;90:29-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


A new species of Apidium is the most common primate currently known from a newly
discovered site near Zallah Oasis in the Sirt Basin of central Libya. Based on
current knowledge of the associated fauna, this new species of Apidium is early
Oligocene in age, being roughly contemporaneous with faunas from Quarries G and V in
the upper part of the Jebel Qatrani Formation in Egypt that also contain species of
Apidium. A phylogenetic analysis based on dental characters indicates that the new
species of Apidium from Libya is the sister group of Apidium phiomense. Apidium
bowni and Apidium moustafai from the Jebel Qatrani Formation in the Fayum are
similar in age to the new species of Apidium from Libya, but both of these Egyptian
species are more distantly related to A. phiomense from younger stratigraphic levels
in the Fayum. This phylogenetic pattern underscores the benefit of enhanced
geographic sampling of the fossil record, even in cases where local records are
thought to be reasonably comprehensive and well documented. Oligocene parapithecids
can be partitioned into two clades corresponding to the subfamilies Parapithecinae
(containing Parapithecus and Simonsius) and Qatraniinae (including Qatrania and
Apidium). Climatic deterioration during the early Oligocene may have impacted the
macroevolutionary dynamics of early Afro-Arabian anthropoids by fostering the
fragmentation of forest habitats, thereby promoting allopatric speciation among
widespread populations of Apidium and other arboreal taxa.

Keywords: .

Link/DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.08.010