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Fossil of "most ancient" monkey of Americas found in Panama Canal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Panama City, Apr 27 (EFE).- The fossilized remains of the "most ancient" long-tailed monkey of the Americas, dating back some 20 million years, is the latest discovery to be announced by of a group of scientists who spent several years analyzing land being excavated to enlarge the Panama Canal.

Paleontological research at sites being excavated for the expansion of the waterway were carried out over a five-year period, and some of its details were presented to the press Friday by scientists with the Panama City-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

"Not long ago we found a long-tailed monkey, the most primitive that exists today in the Americas and which originally came from Africa, and though we don't know why it came to Panama, the oldest specimen is here," Colombian scientists Carlos Jaramillo told a press conference.

Details about "the most ancient long-tailed monkey" on the continent will be revealed in an "article that we hope to publish in the next two months and that will create a lot of interest around the world," Jaramillo, a Colombian geologist, said.

Studies in the excavation areas ended recently with the pouring of concrete for the expansion project at the Canal, which is expected to be in full service by the first half of 2015.

Jaramillo recalled that during the five years of research, the fossils of many animals that lived 20 million years ago were found, and many of those discoveries have been documented in scientific journals.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130427/fossil-most-ancient-monkey-americas-found-panama-canal