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55Mil BC
A tiny monkey-like creature lived in central China about this time. Fossil evidence indicated that it’s trunk was about 2.8 inches long. In 2013 the new species was named Archibus achilles.
Links: China, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
47Mil BC
Scientists in New York unveiled the skeleton of what they said could be the common ancestor to humans, apes and other primates. The tiny creature, officially known as Darwinius masillae, but dubbed Ida, lived about this time and was unusually well preserved. The monkey-like creature, discovered in 1983, was preserved through the ages in Germany's Messel Pit, a crater rich in Eocene Epoch fossils. New analysis soon followed saying Darwinius does not belong in the same primate category as monkeys, apes and humans. Instead, the analysis concluded, it falls into the other major grouping, which includes lemurs.
Links: Germany, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
42Mil BC
Paleontologist Daniel Gebo announced in 2000 the discovery of bones from 2 tiny primates, the size of a human thumb, that lived at this time in Shanghuang, China. The Eosimias primates also lived here about this time.
Links: China, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
38Mil BC
Fossils of jawbones and teeth, dubbed Ganlea megacanina, dating to this time were found in 2005 near Bagan, Myanmar. They suggested that the common ancestors of humans, monkeys and apes, known as anthropoids, evolved from primates in Asia, rather than Africa.
Links: Myanmar, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
21Mil BC
A fossil of a creature called Morotopithecus bishopi, a tree-dwelling, ape-like creature that lived in what is now Uganda, was found in the 1960s and indicated that its transverse process had moved backward, behind the opening for the spinal cord. In 2007 Dr. Aaron Filler authored "The Upright Ape: a new origin of the Species," in which he argued that this common ancestor, and ancestors going back many millions of years before, walked upright. Homo sapiens, the human species, continued upright, while apes evolved back toward all fours.
Links: Uganda, Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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20Mil BC
The gorilla lineage evolved from a common ancestor of orangutans about this time.
Links: Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
20Mil BC
Ugandapithecus Major, a remote cousin of modern great apes, roamed Uganda about this time. The fossilized skull of a male Ugandapithecus Major was discovered in 2011.
Links: Uganda, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
12Mil BC
Gorilla and chimpanzees split from a common ancestor about this time.
Links: Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
10Mil BC
In 2007 Ethiopian fossil hunter found molars of a large ape that bespoke gorilla origins from about this time. They named the large ape Chororapithecus abyssinicus.
Links: Ethiopia, Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
9.8Mil BC
In 2007 Researchers in Kenya unveiled a 10-million-year-old jaw bone they believe belonged to a new species of great ape that could be the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees and humans. A Kenyan and Japanese team found the fragment, dating back to between 9.8 and 9.88 million years, in 2005 along with 11 teeth. The fossils were unearthed in volcanic mud flow deposits in the northern Nakali region of Kenya.
Links: Kenya, Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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9Mil BC
The first creatures in the human lineage lived about this time.
Links: Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1.977Mil BC
In 2008 scientists in South Africa found 2 skeletons of a new hominid species dating back to about this time. In 2010 studies were published indicating that the adult female and juvenile male fossils, dubbed Australopithecus sediba, have shed light on a previously unknown stage in human evolution. In 2011 Lee Berger of the Univ. of Witwatersrand. Berger said the find represented the most plausible known ancestor of archaic and modern humans.
Links: South Africa, Anthropology, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1.6Mil BC
Homo erectus found at Kenya’s Lake Turkana (Koobi Fora) was dated to this time by Dr. Francis Brown of the Univ. of Utah using chemical analysis of volcanic ash. Homo ergaster, the "Turkana boy" skull from Nariokotome, Kenya, was discovered in 1984. A team led by Richard Leakey unearthed hominid bones date to this time at Nariokotome in West Turkana, in northern Kenya. The skeleton of the 5-foot-3 Turkana Boy, who died at age 12, was preserved in marshland before its discovery.
Links: Kenya, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1.2Mil BC
In 1993 a farmer in Sugeng, China, found a Pithecanthropus IX skull that dated to about this time.
Links: China, Primates, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1937
In South Africa the vervet monkey was classified as vermin after one bit the daughter of the country’s finance minister. In 1976 the species was listed as threatened by the Convention on Int’l. Trade and Endangered Species.
Links: South Africa, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1957
Dr. Hilary Koprowski of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia developed an oral polio vaccine and tested it in Africa (Congo). The Wister polio vaccine was given to some 300,000 people in the Belgian Congo from 1957-1960. A later theory held that reuse of needles during the immunization program caused AIDS via “serial passage” that transformed the SIV virus into HIV. In 1999 Edward Hooper authored “The River,” a detailed hypothesis for the origin of AIDS in Africa. Hooper suspected that the Wister polio vaccine, produced from monkey kidney cells, contained SIV virus. In 2000 a computerized study indicated that the AIDS virus was introduced to humans about 1930.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Pennsylvania, Medical, AIDS, CongoDRC, Polio, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1961 Jan 31
Chimpanzee Ham landed safely and became the 1st primate in space after a 16 minute flight aboard a Mercury-Redstone 2 rocket.
Links: USA, NASA, Animal, Space, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1966 Jun
Allen and Beatrix Gardner of the Univ. of Nevada began teaching sign language to a 10-month-old female chimpanzee named Washoe.
Links: USA, Nevada, Primates, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1967
In Marburg, Germany, a disease believed to be caused from African monkeys infected 31 people in a laboratory. The virus came to be called the Marburg virus. Seven people died in Germany and Yugoslavia from the virus. It was traced to infected vervet monkeys from Uganda cut up for polio research.
Links: Germany, Microbiology, Yugoslavia, Polio, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1970
The infant gorilla later named King was captured about this time in Cameroon and shipped to the US where he performed in Las Vegas and traveled with a circus until age 10. He spent his next 20 years at Monkey Jungle in Dade County, Fla.
Links: USA, Cameroon, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1971 Jul 4
Koko, a female lowland gorilla who learned American sign language, was born.
Links: USA, Primates, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971
In Indonesia in south central Kalimantan, Borneo, Birute Galdikas established a research center and rehabilitation station for ex-captive orangutans. The animals are only found in Sumatra and Borneo.
Links: Indonesia, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 May 18
"Me & The Chimp" last aired on CBS-TV.
Links: USA, TV, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
American scientists imported a troop of Japanese snow monkeys, macaques, to Dilley, Texas. By 1995 the troop had quadrupled in size and expanded out of the bounds of its original 50-acre compound.
Links: USA, Texas, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
In Kenya skull 1470 was found by Bernard Ngeneo, a member of a team led by anthropologist Richard Leakey, at Koobi Fora on the east side of Lake Rudolf (now Lake Turkana) in Kenya. Its estimated age is 1.9 million years.
Links: Kenya, Anthropology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1972
Alison Jolly (1937-2014), primatologist, authored “The Evolution of Primate Behaviour,” based on her studies of lemurs in Madagascar.
Links: USA, Books, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974
Dr. Charles Lieber at the VA Medical Center in the Bronx, NY, fed alcohol to baboons along with a nutritionally complete diet. He found that the animals developed every stage of human alcoholic liver disease.
Links: USA, NYC, Medical, Wine, Liquor, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
Lyall Watson (1939-2008), South Africa-born scientist and author, proposed the hundredth monkey theory in his book: Lifetide: A Biology of the Unconscious.”
Links: Writer, Books, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh began research work with bonobo apes at the Georgia State Univ. Language Research Center. In 1998 she authored "Apes, Language, and the Human Mind," based on her work with Kanzi, a bonobo ape.
Links: GeorgiaUS, USA, Primates, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Dec 6
Harry Harlow (b.1905), psychologist, died. He spent his entire professional career teaching at the University of Wisconsin from 1930-1974. His focus of research was on the learning abilities in primates and he observed the phenomenon of 'learning to learn.' His work with infant monkeys and their surrogate mothers (terrycloth dummies) demonstrated the importance of bonding between primate mothers and infants for emotional health and growth. In 2003 Deborah Blum authored "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection."
Links: USA, Wisconsin, Psychology, Sociology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1982 Sep 9
Robert Thibadeau at CMU-10A: Pittsburgh Zoo Options: The zoo is a worthwhile place to visit, but in my three years in Pittsburgh I have watched it deteriorate for lack of funds. Fortunately they have this wonderful 'adopt an animal' program. The adoption can be a day or month. Orangutanns (sic) eat light at $.75 a day or $22.50 a month, and for $15 a day or $450 a month you get yourself an entire elephant. Double that and you can probably have his name changed to Clyde. Triple it and I bet they will let you dye him pink. Visitation rights come with any adoption. The flyer is on my office door -- 5321.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Jul 25
The first nonhuman primate, a baboon, was conceived in a lab dish in San Antonio, Tx.
Links: USA, BioTech, Texas, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983
Jane Goodall published "In the Shadow of Man."
Links: Books, Anthropology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984
A team led by Richard Leakey unearthed hominid bones at Nariokotome in West Turkana, in the far northern reaches of Kenya. The skeleton of the 1.6 million year old 5-foot-3 Turkana Boy, who died at age 12, was preserved in marshland before its discovery.
Links: Kenya, Anthropology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Jan
National Geographic published pictures and the story of Koko the gorilla and her kitten.
Links: USA, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1985 Dec 26
Dian Fossey (53), American zoologist who had studied gorillas in the wild (Gorillas in the Mist), was murdered in Rwanda. Her body was found the next day. Wayne Richard McGuire, a doctoral candidate working with Fossey, was later found guilty in absentia in Rwanda. A native tracker was also charged and died in jail. McGuire claimed total innocence.
Links: USA, Rwanda, Murder, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Dec 27
American naturalist Dian Fossey, who had studied gorillas in the wild, was found hacked to death at a research station in Rwanda.
Links: USA, Rwanda, Murder, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985
The SF Zoo opened a $7 million Primate Discovery Center. The atrium half was demolished in 1999 and a new structure was planned.
Links: USA, SF, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
Jane Goodall published "The Chimpanzees of Gombe."
Links: USA, Books, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
Jane Goodall founded the Committee for the Conservation and Care of Chimpanzees.
Links: USA, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1989
There was an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus among 450 primates in Reston, Va.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Virginia, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Jun 28
A 35-year-old man at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center became the first recipient of a baboon liver transplant; he lived 10 more weeks.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Sep 6
An unidentified 35-year-old man who was the recipient of a transplanted baboon liver died at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 10 weeks after receiving the organ.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Dec 14
AIDS patient Jeff Getty received the first-ever bone-marrow transplant from a baboon. The experimental procedure at a San Francisco hospital was criticized by animal rights activists. The transplant failed, but Getty survived.
Links: USA, SF, Medical, AIDS, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995
Prof. Marc. Hauser, Harvard psychologist, claimed that cotton-top tamarins can recognize themselves in mirrors. His results were questioned and in 2001 Hauser published another paper admitting failure to replicate earlier findings. His work on the cognitive abilities of monkeys were again questioned in 2007.
Links: USA, Psychology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1996 Jan
Scientists reported in Nature that analysis of protein sequences of rabbit DNA indicate that the order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares and allies) are more closely related to primates than other groups of mammals.
Links: DNA, Animal, BioTech, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Jul 4
Koko, the first gorilla to use sign language, turned 25 and asked for a box of scary, rubber snakes and lizards.
Links: Primates, Language, Reptile     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Aug 16
In Brookfield, Ill., a 3-year-old boy fell 15-feet into a concrete area of a zoo’s gorilla exhibit and was rescued by Binti-jua, a 7-year-old gorilla with her own 2-year-old on her back.
Links: Illinois, Primates, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Oct 3
A report found 25% of all 4,025 known species of mammals to be at risk of extinction. This included nearly half of all monkeys and apes.
Links: Animal, Extinction, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Nov 30
It was reported that in the Tororo district of southeastern Uganda, Okecho killed a male baboon for damaging his maize and banana plantations. Some 30 baboons mourned the death of their comrade and carried him off. The baboons later returned and killed Okecho and pulled out his heart.
Links: Uganda, Heart, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1996
Donald Johanson and Blake Edwards wrote "From Lucy to Language."
Links: Books, Anthropology, Primates, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996
Richard W. Wrangham and Dale Peterson wrote "Demonic Males: Apes and the Origin of Human Violence."
Links: Books, Sociology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1997 May 17
From Gabon it was reported that controlled logging in the tropical forests has led to savage territorial wars among the native chimpanzees. The population was estimated to have dropped from 50,000 to 30,000.
Links: Gabon, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1997 Oct 26
From Indonesia it was reported that 120 orangutans on Borneo were killed or tortured by villagers after they were forced out of their habitats by wildfires. The island was home to some 20,000 orangutans.
Links: Indonesia, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Feb 9
From Georgia it was reported that Steuart and Jane Dewar were attempting to set up a Gorilla Haven for retired gorillas in the area of Morgantown on part of 275 acres they owned in Fannin County. There was substantial neighbor opposition.
Links: GeorgiaUS, USA, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1998 Sep 26
From Zimbabwe it was reported that timber companies were poisoning hundreds of baboons causing them to die a slow painful death over 7-10 days.
Links: Zimbabwe, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Oct 22
Scientists at Columbia Univ. announced research that showed monkeys can count.
Links: Colombia, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh wrote "Apes, Language, and the Human Mind." It was based on her work with Kanzi, a bonobo ape, that began in 1980 at the Georgia State Univ. Language Research Center.
Links: Brain, Books, Primates, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1999 Jan 31
Scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported that the AIDS virus originated from a subspecies of chimpanzee in western Africa and that it jumped to humans in the last 50 years.
Links: Alabama, AIDS, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1999 Feb 15
Scientists announced that a new vaccine against malaria would be tested in monkeys.
Links: Microbiology, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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