Fossilised remains of an extinct monkey discovered in a cave in the Dominican Republic (Image: C Bowen)
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Ancient monkey found in underwater cave

Scuba divers have discovered the ancient fossilised bones of a tiny monkey in a cave in the Caribbean.

The remarkably well preserved bones were difficult to date, but scientists believe they are about 3,000 years old.

The find demonstrates that New World monkeys in the Caribbean probably derived from two or three different groups, rather a single species that colonised the area around 10 million years ago, as scientists had previously thought.

It also demonstrates the fossilised treasures that could be revealed by the unusual field of underwater palaeontology.

In this footage, the divers gather the fragile bones and seal them away in tupperware boxes to bring to the surface for further study.

Footage courtesy of Curt Bowen

  • 21 Jul 2010