Primate Origins: Adaptations and Evolution Matthew J. Ravosa

ISBN: 9780387303352

Published: November 1st 2006


829 pages


Primate Origins: Adaptations and Evolution  by  Matthew J. Ravosa

Primate Origins: Adaptations and Evolution by Matthew J. Ravosa
November 1st 2006 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, RTF | 829 pages | ISBN: 9780387303352 | 5.69 Mb

Primates of modern aspect are characterized by several traits of the skull and postcranium, most notably increased encephalization, olfactory reduction, postorbital bars, larger and more convergent orbits, an opposable hallux, and nails instead of claws on the digits.

When, where, how, and why a group of mammals with this distinctive morphology emerged continues to capture the interest of biologists. The past 15 years have witnessed the discovery of num- ous well-preserved basal forms and sister taxa from the Paleocene and Eocene of Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe.

These new ?ndings are parti- larly fascinating because they extend the antiquity of several higher-level clades, greatly increase our understanding of the taxonomic diversity of the ?rst Primates, and document a far greater spectrum of variation in skeletal form and body size than noted previously. Not surprisingly, the past decade also has witnessed molecular and paleontological attempts to resolve primate supraordinal relationships.

Many of our current notions about the adap- tions of the ?rst primates, however, are based on research performed 20 35 years ago a period when the fossil record was much less complete. For instance, there remains considerable debate over the leaping versus quadrupedal component of early primate locomotion, as well as differing views regarding the function of certain mandibular and circumorbital features in basal primates.

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