Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Adapis Cuvier, 1821

Well-known genus of primate from the late Eocene to early Oligocene of western Europe and China belonging to the adapoid subfamily Adapinae; four to five species; first fossil primate described (by G. Cuvier, 1821), although its affinities were not recognized at the time. Possesses some lemurlike characteristics, which include an inflated auditory bulla with a free tympanic ring and some dental similarities; however, unlike modern lemurs, Adapis has a fused mandible. Estimated body size of the species around 1.5 kg. Small orbits suggest diurnality. Dental formula:; shearing crests on cheek teeth suggests folivory. Appears to have become extinct during the Grande Coupure (c. 38 mya).According to Gingerich, Adapis shows evidence of sexual dimorphism; if so, this would be the earliest appearance of this characteristic among the primates.

See Leptadapis for taxonomy.

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