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CENOZOIC ERA

PALEOGENE PERIOD

Eocene Epoch

55-34 million years ago

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tarsier

Tarsiers are prosimians which may be more closely related to anthropoid primates than other prosimians.

The omomyids diversified to produce a variety of species throughout the world (at least 20 genera from North America, 4 from Europe, and one from Asia) but virtually all the lineages later became extinct. Apparently this extinction was due to climatic changes and to competition from the monkeys and apes which evolved later. At present, omomyids seem to be more closely related to anthropoids than adapids but many of the specimens on which this is based are fragmentary and new finds may challenge this. Omomyids were diverse during the Eocene, dwindled during the Oligocene, and virtually all became extinct just after the end of that period. Today the tarsier is the sole living representative of this group (Gingerich, 1984; Luckett, 1975; Martin, 1990).