Meet Your Ancestors

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 07.01.08
  • NOVA scienceNOW

For many of us, it may be hard to imagine that if we went back far enough in time—more than 55 million years, when the first primates are thought to have lived—that our great-a-million-times-over-grandparent was the size of a mouse. But it's true. Want to meet that very distant relative of yours? Click on the image below—and take a trip back through your primate lineage.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

Take a look at your primate kin over the past 55 million years.

Peter Tyson is editor in chief of NOVA Online.



Li Wei
Brenden Kootsey

Image Credits

(man and woman)
© Duncan Walker/
(Peter Tyson)
Courtesy Peter Tyson
(H. erectus, Australopithecus, Dryopithecus, Proconsul)
© John D. Gurche, artist
Dan Wright © Dorling Kindersley
Mark A. Klinger, artist/© Carnegie Museum of Natural History
(Carpolestes, Dryomomys)
© Doug M. Boyer, artist
(Amoeba proteus)
© Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

Related Links

  • First Primates

    Our most distant primate ancestors, which appeared soon after the dinosaurs died out, were the size of mice.

  • First Primates: Expert Q&A

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  • Our Family Tree

    See (and hear) where you stand among the great apes in this audiovisual interactive.

  • Who's Who In Human Evolution

    Meet your increasingly distant cousins in this clickable illustration of the past seven million years.


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