This extinct species is one of the earliest known primates.
Meaning of scientific name
They are named after the primate researcher Marc Godinot.
Pronunciation of scientific name
Body: 30cm, with a long tail.
Godinotia looked very like a small lemur.
An incomplete specimen has been found in the Messel shales, Germany, and very closely related primates are known from other sites in Europe.
They lived in the tropical forests covering the earth during the Eocene.
Godinotia was omnivorous - feeding mostly on insects, but also fruit when available.
There are several lemur-like primates found in the Eocene forests, and some, such as Godinotia, have such large eye sockets that they were probably nocturnal. Their limbs show that they were adapted for leaping from one vertical tree trunk to another and then walking along the branches.
A preserved penis bone (baculum) from a closely related primate is remarkably long. By analogy with modern primates, this suggests that they mated once with each female that they met, but that this mating lasted for a long time.
They lived 49 million years ago. Primates earlier than around 50 million years ago are little known, but it is thought that they shared an ancestor with rodents during the time of the dinosaurs, and that the earliest primates were rather like squirrels or tree shrews.
They are related to modern primates, although it is not certain whether they are most closely related to lemurs or whether the resemblance is superficial.