US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Human Evolution (1986) 15, 431- 437.


Three new specimens reported here are referable to the Omomyidae and Lorisidae, and represent only the second and third prosimian primates found in the Oligocene rocks of the Fayum, Egypt. The Fayum omomyid extends the range of the Omomyidae into Africa, while the Fayum lorisid is the oldest record of the Lorisidae world-wide. Afrotarsius established ?Tarsiidae as a third prosimian family present in Oligocene rocks of the Fayum region of Egypt (Simons & Bown, 1985). These new occurrences significantly reorient paleogeographic study of primate origins. In a fauna famed for the presence of about a thousand specimens of early Anthropoidea-viz. Apidium, Parapithecus, Qatrania, Propliopithecus, Oligopithecus, and Aegyptopithecus, the three prosimian families are documented to date from only four specimens. Among all major groups of li ving and fossil euprimates, only the Malagasy lemuriforms, the Adapidae, and the New World monkeys now have no fossil record in the Oligocene of Egypt, making the Fayum area the most diverse in terms of primates of any region in the world.