Apidium, now extinct, was one of the earliest mammals known.
Meaning of scientific name
"Small bull" since the first pieces to be found were thought to be the remains of a cow or pig.
Pronunciation of scientific name
Body 25-30cm long, not including the tail.
Apidium was a monkey, adapted to life in the tropical forests of North Africa at the time.
Apidium is found in the Fayum deposits of Egypt. The earlier species, Apidium moustafai, is rare, but the later Apidium phiomense is very common indeed.
They inhabited the mangrove forests of North Africa at the end of the Eocene and beginning of the Oligocene.
They fed on fruit.
Apidium's limbs show that they were adapted to run along branches and leap from one to another. The males had larger canine teeth to fight over groups of females. Unlike their nocturnal ancestors, these primates were daytime feeders, using sight more than smell to find ripe fruit in the forest.
One of the earliest monkeys known.
Apidium is one of the very earliest known monkeys, which evolved from lemur-like prosimians. They lived 36-34 million years ago. The differences between monkeys and prosimians (such as bushbabies and lemurs) are rather technical but in general prosimians are different from monkeys in having long snouts, cleft upper lips and wet noses.
Best place to see
Oxford University Museum of Natural History.