Walter was a Texas paleontologist and distinguished biology professor at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls until his death in 2000.
For more information, contact: Christian Clarke Casarez, Office of Public Affairs, 512-471-4945; Chris Kirk, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, 512-471-0056 (office), 512-636-2634 (cell).
The researchers have published their discovery in the Journal of Human Evolution article, “New Uintan Primates from Texas and their Implications for North American Patterns of Species Richness during the Eocene.” During the early part of the Eocene epoch, primates were common in the tropical forests that covered most of North America.
Over time, however, climatic cooling caused a dramatic decline in the abundance and diversity of North American primates.
“After several years of collecting new fossils, reviewing Texas’ primate community and comparing it to other places in North America, we found a much more diverse group of primate species in Texas than we expected,” Kirk said.