Fossils reveal that Eocene primates like Smilodectes were adapted for life in the trees. Their large, forward-looking eyes could focus simultaneously on the same point, giving them excellent depth perception. Stereoscopic vision, combined with an opposable thumb and a relatively large brain, enhanced their ability to live and feed treetops, beyond the reach of most terrestrial predators


  • Title: Early primate
  • Location: Bridger Formation, Sweetwater Co., Wyoming
  • Physical Dimensions: L: 45 cm W: 15 cm H: 62 cm
  • Type: Fossil
  • Rights: This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws. http://www.si.edu/termsofuse
  • External Link: View this object record in the Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center
  • Weight: 15 kg
  • USNM Catalog Number(s): V17995
  • Scientific Name: <i>Smilodectes gracilis</i>
  • Photo Credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Historic Period: Lived 50–46 million years ago
  • Geologic Age: Cenozoic - Paleogene - Eocene - Bridgerian
  • Field: Paleobiology

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