The westernmost tarsier: A new genus and species from the Miocene of Pakistan

Jelle S. Zijlstra, Lawrence J. Flynn, Wilma Wessels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


As the closest living sister group of anthropoids, tarsiers (Family Tarsiidae) are an important group in primate evolution. However, their fossil record is poor: only four species have been described, two from the Eocene of China and two from the Miocene of Thailand. All are from outside the range of the living species, which occur only on islands off Southeast Asia. Here, we describe a new fossil tarsier from Pakistan, a significant range extension. This record consists of two lower molars, an upper molar, and a lower premolar found in the Miocene Manchar Formation (~18-16Ma [millions of years ago]) of Sindh Province, southern Pakistan. The Pakistani tarsier is morphologically distinct from all living and fossil tarsiers, but most similar to the middle Miocene Thai species Tarsius thailandicus. Though living tarsiers have traditionally been classified in a single genus, a recent revision proposed a division into three genera, which is strongly supported by molecular data. The Pakistani species is not referable to any of these genera, and we create for it and T.thailandicus a new tarsiid genus. This discovery broadens our understanding of the geographic range and morphological diversity of Miocene tarsiers and helps to put the living tarsiers into their evolutionary context. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-550
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • animal
  • article
  • classification
  • fossil
  • Fossil vertebrates
  • histology
  • history
  • mammal
  • Manchar Formation
  • Pakistan
  • physical anthropology
  • Southeast Asia
  • tarsiiform
  • tooth


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