Your Place in the Primate Family Tree

  • Published on: 16 October 2018
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    Purgatorius, a kind of mammal called a plesiadapiform, might’ve been one of your earliest ancestors. But how did we get from a mouse-sized creature that looked more like a squirrel than a monkey -- to you, a member of Homo sapiens?

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Purgatorius reconstruction. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at and

    And thanks as always to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart:

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, Svetlana Pylaeva, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao. Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Joshua Mitchell, Johnny Li, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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    Collard, M., & Wood, B. (2013). Defining the genus Homo. Handbook of Paleoanthropology: Vol I: Principles, Methods and Approaches Vol II: Primate Evolution and Human Origins Vol III: Phylogeny of Hominids, 1-31.
  • Runtime : 12:26
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Purgatorius ape lemur monkey mammal plesiadapiform Order of Primate synapomorphies molecular clock DNA family family tree cladogram taxonomy last common ancestor Simiiformes Infraorder Hominoidea Homo Homo Sapiens Hominini hominins Superfamily Suborder strepsirrhines Tribe adapoids omomyoids genus species


  • PBS Eons
    PBS Eons   11 months ago

    Hi everyone in the comment section! Just to echo what Kallie said at the beginning of the episode: our first-ever sticker is available now. Designed by the brilliant paleoartist Franz Anthony! Check it out:

    RAYY SANTANAA   4 days ago

    Primates invented Tacos, without Primates there would be NO TACOS ...

  • Armie of One
    Armie of One   5 days ago

    I recently read an article that says that our last common ancestor might actually be orangutans rather than chimps.

  • John
    John   5 days ago

    is it okay to show this video to my dog?

  • Iowa599
    Iowa599   2 weeks ago

    Nobody says anything about it, but we're actually pretty close to the bottom.

  • jessie fabillar
    jessie fabillar   2 weeks ago

    Do not believe this! Still sciencist is pushing this. Go back to studying.

  • Nick McLeod
    Nick McLeod   3 weeks ago

    Sorry for being flippant.. Amazing video.. Incredibly informative!! Thank you so much PBS Eons!

  • Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson   3 weeks ago

    There's no transition species, humans just appear on the evolutionary time-line.

  • shadowblobSS
    shadowblobSS   3 weeks ago

    I am related to owls. I say this because it is technically true and I like owls.

  • JiveDadson
    JiveDadson   3 weeks ago

    Do we have a good idea of what the last common ancestor of homo sapiens and chimps looked like?

  • EasytheGoon
    EasytheGoon   1 months ago

    I like how she says your earliest ancestor. Is she a reptilian?

  • Jacob G
    Jacob G   1 months ago

    Our ancient shrew like ancestors are so insanely cute.

  • Josh Turner
    Josh Turner   1 months ago

    Thanks for remembering which videos I've watched on the playlist. Seriously, I watch tons of playlists and remembering where I'm at it's difficult.

  • leorosa
    leorosa   1 months ago

    She has a lisp right ?

  • Glen Adlin
    Glen Adlin   1 months ago

    4:14sec.... cutest family shot ever

  • Uncle Sam
    Uncle Sam   1 months ago

    When your dog is also watching so he now thinks he's human.

  • insylem
    insylem   2 months ago

    My place in the Primate Family tree? I thought Primate was an Order.

  • HeJ m8
    HeJ m8   2 months ago

    I want to live up trees

  • Novorum Norcocorum
    Novorum Norcocorum   2 months ago

    So if we don't have those pads as Hominidaes does that mean that our buttocks are convergent evolution?

  • Richard Robinson
    Richard Robinson   2 months ago

    My evolution stretches back to Alan, a bitter old drunk who swore at the television. He never streamed fantastic content like this; thus avoiding the garbage on free to air tv.

  • Darren C
    Darren C   2 months ago

    Hang on dont we need to find the missing link before we can say categorically were we fit? As we have seen very recently with the discovery of 210k year old human remains in Greece wich challenges or out of Africa perception or certainly or migration date. That to assume anything in anthropology is to no nothing.

  • Solrod
    Solrod   2 months ago

    I'm confused.Purgatorius was found in North America and it is said to be a human ancestor, and our more recent ancestors appeared in Africa. But I see a map of the world from that time and North America and any means for reaching Africa are just too separated. There were no ships or airplanes back then and I don't think purgatorius could swim such long distances.If purgatorius was from North America and then his descendants that would lead to us were from Africa, how did they reach Africa in the first place? Is purgatorius really our ancestor or it could be another animal we don't know yet?

  • David Henry
    David Henry   2 months ago


  • Soko Waves
    Soko Waves   2 months ago

    this explains why i am not impress with rock climbers and tree house owners. we have definitely evolved

  • lunatic bird
    lunatic bird   3 months ago

    6:00'They're basically built in seat cushions!'The delivery of that line is amazing :DNext time I want to sit down somewhere I'm going to confuse someone by saying 'Oh damn, I wish I still had my Ischial Callosities' :P

  • Mark Crawford
    Mark Crawford   3 months ago

    Remember she said at the beginning of the video that the purgatorias might be our earliest ancestors

  • ResidentEvil302cuba rican215

    If we go further back everythin came out of water..i wonder how humans will evolve even further unles we kill r self off from wat its lookn Like lol

  • Youdheya Banerjee
    Youdheya Banerjee   3 months ago

    Female Lemurs play mischivios tricks in the love games resembling women.And is an indication on that line!