Primate Origins and Evolution: A Phylogenetic Reconstruction
This unique book carries out a comprehensive reconstruction of the evolutionary history of living and fossil primates. The text takes a comparative approach and covers the broadest possible spectrum of evidence. Although emphasis is placed on reviews of the anatomical characteristics of such species seen in a functional context, attention is also given both to evidence from the chromosomal level and to comparative molecular evidence. The tree-shrews, once thought to provide an approximate model for the ancestral primates, are repeatedly shown to differ from them significantly in key features. The primary objective throughout the book is the identification of such key characteristics in the earliest primates and investigation of the fate of these features during the subsequent evolution of the group. The major events of human evolution are examined in a broad evolutionary context, thus avoiding the ad hoc arguments that commonly result from narrow comparisons. This book will be of special interest to advanced students of anthropology and zoology, in particular to primatologists and evolutionary biologists and those concerned with mammals generally. Since technical terminology has been explained throughout, the book will also be accessible to a wide audience of people interested in primate evolution.