Early Primate Weighed Less Than an Ounce on 5 June 2013, 1:30 PM
Excerpt: The location of its discovery supports the once-controversial hypothesis that primates first evolved in Asia. When Beard first proposed that idea in the 1990s, he was “completely ridiculed,” he recalls. “Everybody knew that everything in primate and human evolution occurred in Africa.”
My comment: See Kamberov et al. (2013) and Grossman et al (2013): The fossil location suggests comparison to findings that indicate a climate change-dependent, diet-dependent amino acid substitution led to culture-driven sexual selection for pheromones associated with visually perceived phenotype in a human population that arose in Central China during the past ~30,000 years. Perhaps the timing of the climate change et al. is coincidental. However, their findings of epigenetic cause and effect conflict with mutations theory and the 55 million years time frame due to the fact that olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.
For example, single amino acid substitutions result in species diversification in a variety of accepted animal models best exemplified in insects. Perhaps this primate was an insectivore and its adaptive evolution was nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled as is adaptive evolution in every other species on this planet. If so, it may not have taken 55 million years to evolve via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction and become a modern human. It seems more likely to me that the epigenetic tweaking of a few genes with large effects might have sped things up. Why wait for random mutations to somehow accumulate and cause something that appears to have been nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled across 5-10,000 years of wolf to dog differentiation?
If this little primate didn’t wait, the idea that other primates first evolved in Asia fits nicely with what Darwin told us about the ‘conditions of life’ required before natural selection and natural cooperation could proceed. Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ are, of course, nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled.
See: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338.