Flynn et al. 1995 brought us
Chilecebus carrascoensis (Early Miocene; 20mya; Fig. 1 lower left) a tiny New World monkey from Early Miocene Chile.
When added to
the large reptile tree (LRT, 1753+ taxa) Chilecebus nested with the other South American monkeys.
(since there IS this myth out there) there was no need for a monkey or two from Africa to raft over to South America (Fig. 2). The large reptile tree (LRT, 1753+ taxa) documents descent from Smilodectes (Fig. 1) an adapid living in Texas (Fig. 3).
Incrementally adding taxa to the LRT
has become less harrowing and more confident because there are no longer any large gaps, no odd enigmas, and lots of similar taxa for new specimens to nest alongside. By getting to this size the LRT has become a tool that no longer needs shaping, but can come out whenever needed to nest new specimens that others find difficult to understand. Even so, the LRT is still subject to constant scrutiny and polishing to further increase its usefullness.
Flynn J et al. 1995. An Early Miocene anthropoid skull from the Chilean Andes. Nature 373, 603 – 607.