24 Nov 2007 10:52 UTCSat 24 Nov 2007 - 10:52 am UTC
When did Africa bump into Europe/Asia (on its tectonic plate drift) and what are dates of earliest monkeys and apes in Europe/Asia?
24 Nov 2007 19:34 UTCSat 24 Nov 2007 - 7:34 pm UTC
hey thanks for that guys. As i understand it (which is not much!) Africa was an island drifting north whilst its primate passengers that would give rise to the monkeys and apes (us) were evolving. So at this time, no monkeys or apes in europe/asia? I'm looking for a date (never mind day or month (hehe)) when Africa reached eurasia and apes & monkeys could go exploring and settling, ideally backed up by earliest dated fossil apes/monkeys
24 Nov 2007 19:40 UTCSat 24 Nov 2007 - 7:40 pm UTC
......ideally backed up by earliest dated fossil
..in eurasia, that is.
24 Nov 2007 21:44 UTCSat 24 Nov 2007 - 9:44 pm UTC
Most reliable sources say that the collision of Africa with Eurasia began during the late Cretaceous Period, about 80 million years ago. The Tethys Sea, which used to separate Africa from Eurasia, was narrowed and finally closed approximately 50 million years ago (give or take a few million years). The earliest monkeys and apes appeared in Eurasia during the Miocene epoch (about 23 to 5 million years ago). Their origin and migration is in dispute; some scientists believe that the common ancestor of monkeys and apes lived in Africa, while some believe the ancestor lived in Asia.
"The European Alps have been formed in similar fashion, starting some 80 million years ago when the outlying continental fragments of the African Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate."
Plate Tectonics: Mountain Ranges
"The Pyrenees began forming about 80 million years ago, during early stages of Eurasian-African plate collision; in contrast, the Cordillera Cantabrica, along the north coast of Spain, is a more deeply eroded ancient mountain chain that was uplifted roughly 320 million years ago. There is a long history of mining in the Pyrenees -- tin, tungsten, talc, fluorite, barium and gold, and petroleum is produced from the adjacent Aquitaine basin of France... The great folded and faulted ranges of the Alps began forming during Eurasian-African plate collision about 60 million years ago."
NASA: Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Photographic Highlights
"Initial compressional forces resulting from the subduction of Africa under Europe caused block faulting (elevation of isolated rock masses relative to adjacent ones) during the Jurassic. By Cretaceous time the collision between the African and Eurasian plates resulted in more deformation of the Tethyan deposits, as shown by the contemporaneous generation of many faults and rock folds. Volcanic activity was common, and some oceanic volcanoes grew tall enough for their peaks to emerge above the surface of the sea, creating new islands. The presence of ophiolite sequences—packages of deep-sea sediments and sections of ocean crust thrust up onto continental crust—is further evidence that compressional forces in this area became intense. East of the Alpine region, the Indian Plate was moving northward approaching the Asian Plate. Tethys closed during the Cenozoic Era about 50 million years ago."
Encyclopaedia Brittanica (Concise): Tethys Sea
"Before the Indian and Eurasian Plates collided, an ancient ocean, called the Tethys Ocean, existed between Eurasia and Africa. By about 55 million years ago, the continents squeezed out the ocean, and some research suggests that the resulting rearrangement of ocean currents may have provoked the strong global warming that came shortly after."
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Moving Earth and Heaven
"Mesozoic History of Eurasia
A. Tethys Seaway history (southern margin of Eurasia)
a. limestone deposition
b. highlands developed to north (Vindelician arch)
c. New Red Sandstone deposited as clastic wedge
a. Africa moves north toward Eurasia
b. compression during collision deforms
c. complex overturned folds, thrust faults, and ophiolites develop as a result
d. Tethys seaway narrowed and marine transgression linked Tethys with Alpine Sea to north inundating
most of Europe
e. Opening of Bay of Biscay and Pyrenees uplift
f. Volcanism in Himalayan region"
The University of Montana: Geosciences - The Mesozoic Era
"Most of the early Miocene apes went extinct. But one of them - perhaps Afropithecus from Kenya - was ancestral to the species that first made its way over to Eurasia some 16.5 million years ago. At around that time global sea levels dropped, exposing a land bridge between Africa and Eurasia. A mammalian exodus ensued. Among the creatures that migrated out of their African homeland were elephants, rodents, ungulates such as pigs and antelopes, a few exotic animals such as aardvarks, and primates."
Scientific American: Planet of the Apes
"Large ape species had originated in Africa by 23 million or 22 million years ago. By 15 million years ago, some of these species had migrated to Asia and Europe over a land bridge formed between the Africa-Arabian and Eurasian continents, which had previously been separated...
Early in their evolution, the large apes underwent several radiations - periods when new and diverse species branched off from common ancestors. Following Proconsul, the ape genus Afropithecus evolved about 18 million years ago in Arabia and Africa and diversified into several species. Soon afterward, three other ape genera evolved - Griphopithecus of western Asia about 16.5 million years ago, the earliest ape to have spread from Africa; Kenyapithecus of Africa about 15 million years ago; and Dryopithecus of Europe about 12 million years ago."
Encarta: Characteristics, Classification, and Evolution of the Primates
"In the early Miocene, ape species evolved and diversified in Africa, and by about 16 million years ago, apes spread to Eurasia and began to diversify there as well. The variety of species creates a very complex picture of ape evolution. These apes exhibit a greater range of sizes than is found amongst modern apes, in fact, the largest primate known evolved during this epoch. Although most of the Miocene apes were fruit-eaters (frugivorous), at least two species are thought to have been leaf-eaters (folivorous). Analysis of the fossil remains shows that many of the species had a combination of primitive and derived features, which makes it hard to tell which ones were ancestors of modern apes, orangutans, gibbons and humans. While the apes of Africa and Eurasia had their greatest diversity during the early Miocene, relatively few species of Old World monkeys are known from this time span. Monkeys underwent a major radiation in the late Miocene and throughout the Pliocene. During the late Miocene, the diversity of large apes began to decline as tropical and subtropical habitats of Europe and Asia began to contract and become concentrated closer to the equator."
Smithsonian Institution Dept. of Anthropology: The Miocene
"Primates living today are believed to share a common ancestor that originated in either Africa or Asia. Fossil examples of such anthropoid ancestors have been found in both continents, so pushing back the origins to a single location has been controversial."
Science Magazine: Shaking the Earliest Branches of Anthropoid Primate Evolution
"Forty million year old fossil teeth and jaw fragments from a new species of early primate found in Myanmar lend support to the idea that the ancestor of all monkeys and apes lived in Asia instead of Africa. The new species, dubbed Bahinia pondaungensis in the 15 October issue of Science, may also shed light on what kind of primate was the likely predecessor to this monkey/ape group...
Many early anthropoids have been found in Africa, most of them in Egypt where a site called the Fayum has yielded a dizzyingly complex variety of primate species. This fueled scientific speculation that Africa, already known as the cradle of human origins, was the ancestral home of anthropoids as well. In recent years however, Asian anthropoids have begun to join the fossil ranks, with discoveries from Thailand, China, and Myanmar."
AAAS: Primitive primate makes the case for Asian anthropoid origins
I hope this is helpful!