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Remarks: The material consists of two isolated molars of a very small omomyid. The detailed study of these remains, as well as further fieldwork for obtaining more material, may allow the description of a new taxon.
The fossil's forward-looking eye sockets are also revealing: They're much smaller relative to skull length than those of any other omomyid specimen.
Beard and his coworkers assign some Shanghuang fossils to an adapid that resembled an extinct European primate and identify others as an omomyid with anatomical ties to a North American primate of comparable age.
Because most fossils assigned to the omomyid family consist only of teeth and jaw fragments, Krishtalka contends the omomyids represent a "wastebasket group" into which scientists dump all sorts of fossilized bits and pieces merely because the specimens come from small primates living in the same distant time period.
The Eosimias fossils also suggest that early anthropoids developed from animals related to modern tarsiers and an extinct group called omomyids, he adds.
The new fossils also shed light on whether lemurlike adapids or tarsierlike omomyids living between 55 million and 36 million years ago qualify as simian ancestors.
And this puts Amphipithecus smack in the midst of a long-standing debate over which lower primate gave rise to the anthropoids: adapids or another prosimian group called the omomyids, which are related to modern tarsiers.