Eocene and Miocene primate fossils from Myanmar
Pliocene to Pleistocene primate fossils from southern China
Oligocene and Miocene primate fossils in Bolivia and Colombia
Cercopithecoid fossils from Eurasia and Japan
Macaque fossils from East and Southeast Asia
Neogene mammalian fossils from Eurasia
Morphology of vocal apparatus in living primates

Eocene and Miocene primate fossils from Myanmar

: Takai, Nishimura, and Egi


We have been working on the primate fossils from the uppermost middle Eocene (about 37.2 million years ago) Pondaung Formation in central Myanmar since 1998. We discovered new specimens of Pondaungia, Amphipithecus, Eosimias, and Bahinia. Also, we found upper and lower dentitions of a new primate, and named it as Myanmarpithecus. Furthermore, we have recently found another new eosimiid primate. All of these primates is probably primitive anthropoids, suggesting an East Asian origin for anthropoids. Various mammalian fossils co-occurring with the primates revealed the high endemicity of the Pondaung fauna relative to other Asian faunas.
We started another project in 2001, to survey Miocece to early Pliocene primate fossils from the terrestrial Irrawaddy Sediments, widely spread at the both sides of the Irrawaddy River in central Myanmar. We have collected mammalian fossils such as artiodactyls, perissodactyls, proboscideans, carnivorans, and a rodent. We compared these fossils with those from Indo-Pakistan, China, and other areas, to estimate migrations of mammals and paleoenvironment in Southeast Asia around the Miocene-Pliocene and Pliocene-Pleistocene boundaries.
We keep our efforts on our field expeditions and paleontological researches for mammalian fossils in the two areas, to understand the evolutionary processes of varied forms and distributions in primates, associated with knowledge of global environmental changes.

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Pliocene to Pleistocene primate fossils from southern China

: Takai


We are now starting a new paleontological and ecological research project at Chongzuo, Guangxi, southern China, in cooperation with the Chinese researchers of School of Life Science, Peking University, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), and the Section of Ecology and Conservation, Primate Research Institute.The Guangxi is well known for its karst topography, and white headed leaf monkeys (Presbytis leucocephalus) are distributed in this area. Especially in Chongzuo, the Peking University team had started an ecological research on the monkeys in 1990s, and they also discovered numerous isolated teeth and bone fragments from the cave deposits of the karst cave of Chongzuo. Last year (2007) we visited there and started the paleoprimatological work together with Prof. Jin Changzhu. The primate fossils, which were discovered from the late Pliocene to late Pleistocene cave deposits (about 2 - 0.01 Mya), includes Macaca, Presbytis?, Rhinopithecus, Gigantopithecus, Pongo, and Homo. Based on these fossil evidences, we are trying to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the primates in southern China.

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Oligocene and Miocene primate fossils from Bolivia and Colombia

: Takai


I have been working on the platyrrhine primate fossils from the middle Miocene (about 15 million years ago) of La Venta (Southern Colombia, South America) since the end of 1970s, have discovered many platyrrhine fopssils.We discovered Stirtonia (the ancestor of living howler monkey), Cebupithecia (the ancestor of living saki monkey), Neosaimiri (squirrel monkey), Aotus dindensis (the ancestor of living night monkey), Micodon(fossil marmoset), Miocallicebus villaviejai (fossil titi monkey).
I also have been working on the oldest platyrrhine primate, Branisella, from the upper Oligocene (about 25 million years ago) of Salla (northern Bolivia, South America) since1992. I have discovered many dental materials of Branisella, and have been rearching the origin and evolution of early platyrrihnes.

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Cercopithecoid fossils from Eurasia and Japan

: Takai, Nishimura, and Egi


We have been working on the cercopithecoid primate fossils which were discovered from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Eurasia and Japan. We examine morpholigcal features, using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Computed Tomography (CT), as well as traditional morphological examinations, to study the systematics and phylogeny of the fossil primates. We have recentry examined the inner structures in Paradolichopithecus (a fossil cercopithecine) found from late Pliocene of Tajikistan, to suggest that it probably belongs to the macaque lineage rather than that of baboons. We also examined the phyletic position of Parapresbytes found from Trans Bikal area of Russia and Mongolia, and continue to study the phyletic relationships of Eurasian colobines, e.g. Dolichopithecus and Kanagawapithecus.


Macaque fossils from East and Southeast Asia

: Takai, Nishimura


Changes in morphology and distribution of Japanese macaques have been carried out with the researchers of the Population Gentetics and Morphology Sections. We are investigating the morphological changes of teeth and bones of East Asian macaques. Statistical analyses of the teeth size belonging to East Asian Macaca suggests that Pleistocene Japanese macaque, Macaca cf. fuscata, tends to have larger teeth than any modern East Asian form including modern M. fuscata. This fact suggests the close relationship between Japanese fossil macaque and continental large fossil macaques, such as M. robustus and M. andersoni. These studies would be of significant value in interpreting the origin of M. fuscata.
We also continues the phylogenetical studies on the fossil macaques found from Southeast Asia, using CT scans of the inner structures of the face, to reevaluate the phyletic relationships of the fossil species.


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Neogene mammalian fossils from Eurasia

: Takai and Egi


Asia is rich in the Late Cenozoic mammalian fossil localities. SE Asia, including Myanmar, is important for discussing about mammalian dispersal problem of Northern Hemisphere at the period.


Morphology of vocal apparatus in living primates

: Nishimura


I have been working on the comparative morphology of the vocal apparatus in living primates, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the anatomical foundations for human speech. I use various approaches including the traditional gross anatomical techniques, CT, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), in collaboration with researchers and staff of the other Sections. I am also studying the dynamics of the primate vocalizations, in collaboration with the ethologists in the PRI.


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