Primates’ Ancestors May Have Left Trees To Survive Asteroid That Wiped Out the Dinosaurs

A chimpanzee in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Credit: Daniel J. Field

When an asteroid struck 66 million years ago and wiped out dinosaurs not related to birds and three-quarters of life on Earth, early ancestors of primates and marsupials were among the only tree-dwelling (arboreal) mammals that survived, according to a new study.
Arboreal species were especially at risk of extinction due to global deforestation caused by wildfires from the asteroid’s impact.
In the study, computer models, fossil records, and information from living mammals revealed that most of the surviving mammals did not rely on trees, though the few arboreal …