Researchers have unearthed a monkey fossil in an underwater cave. The fossil is said to be one million years old. The discovery was made after researchers had recovered a fossil shin bone that is said to be of Antillothrix bernensis.

The fossil of the Monkey, the size of a cat was recovered from the Caribbean region and has been dated as one million years old.

According to a statement by the University of Melbourne, the discovery was made by a team of international researchers has recovered a tibia of an extinct monkey, Antillothrix bernensis from an underwater cave in Altagracia Province, Dominican Republic.

The fossil was discovered embedded in a limestone rock. The rock was dated using the uranium series technique. The scientists made it sure that the fossil tibia belonged to Antillothrix bernensis, a primate that existed on Hispaniola relatively unchanged for over a million years. To ensure this, the researchers used three-dimensional geometric morphometrics.

Helen Green of Melbourne University’s School of Earth Sciences is a lead researcher involved in the dating of limestones surrounding the fossils. She said that the question of the age of the primate fossils from this region baffled the scientists since the days of Darwin and Wallace.

Antillothrix bernensis is a member of extinct primate on Hispaniola. Most primate fossils discovered till date was dated within the last 10,000 years. The new material found was in order with the earlier collected material when it came to morphology.

Green said that the widespread presence of new world monkeys on the Caribbean Islands led to a big question in biogeography. Green’s work on the fossils shows that Antillothrix lived on Hispaniola morphologically unchanged for over a million years.

Green added that by establishing the age of the fossils a better understanding of the primate evolution in the region can be achieved.