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Molecular evidence unites the Dermoptera, Scandentia, and Primates as Euarchonta in the Euarchontoglires.

Order DERMOPTERA--colugos or "flying lemurs"



  1. feed on leaves, buds, flowers, fruit
  2. 2 inner lower incisors procumbent, pectinate for grooming, also scraping leaves [Fig. 12.18].
  3. arboreal gliders (glissant)
    1. membrane extending from neck to digits of forefeet, from forelimbs to digits of hind feet, and from hindlimbs to tip of tail

Cynocephalus from Wikipedia

Galeopterus from Wikipedia


learn more about tree shrews from

  1. the University of Michigan Animal Diversity web
  2. Encyclopedia of Life
  3. Wikipedia


  1. Oriental
  2. 5 genera, 19 species
  3. superficially resemble long-snouted squirrels
  4. traditionally were considered in order Primates because of the following
    1. postorbital bar is present
    2. scrotal testes
    3. relatively large brain
  5. Tree shrews are now placed in the Euarchonta as the sister taxon of primates and dermopterans
  6. lack a petrosal bulla, unlike the primates
  7. terrestrial to arboreal
  8. diurnal
  9. omnivorous, four species are mainly frugivorous

Family Tupaiidae [fig 12.16]

  1. 4 genera 18 species
  2. Tupaia  tree shrews
    1. Terrible mothers (Martin, 1968): After giving birth, female tree shrews visit their young to nurse for a few minutes every two days.  The two altricial young have highly flexible stomachs to maximize milk uptake.  This behavior may minimize calling attention to the nest to predators.

Family Ptilocercidae

  1. Pen-tailed tree shrew

Tupaia  tana  by Joseph Smit (1836-1929) from Wikipedia

Indian Tree-shrew (Anathana ellioti). Photographed by S. Karthikeyan in Yercaud, India.  From Wikipedia

Pen-tailed tree shrew



Learn more about primates from the

  1. Wikipedia
  2. University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web
  3. University of California Museum of Paleontology
  4. University of Wisconsin National Primate Research Center


  1. petrosal bulla
  2. nail present on hallux (big toe), usually on other digits as well
  3. pollex (thumb) and/or hallux opposable
  4. postorbital bar or postorbital plate 
  5. large braincase with large orbits
  6. reduced snout and overlapping visual fields  
  7. true primates are first known from the Eocene (not late Cretaceous)


Classification [Table 14.1, Figs. 14.1, 14.7]

Traditionally primates have been subdivided into a more primitive prosimian group and a more derived anthropoid (New and Old World Monkeys, Apes, and humans) group.


  • Taxa
    • lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers
  • Characteristics
    • the face is more or less elongate
    • the orbit is confluent with the temporal fossa 
    • the cerebral hemispheres of the brain are only slightly convoluted
    • Varecia variegata rubra Red ruffed lemur, photo from H. Vannoy Davis © 2001 California Academy of Sciences



  • monkeys, apes, and humans.
    • The image on the right of a Bonnet Macaque from Buffon is provided by the Primate Gallery 

Cladistic classification divides Primates into


The diagram below is from Wikipedia, with links to Wikipedia primate pages.


humans (genus Homo

chimpanzees (genus Pan

gorillas (tribe Gorillini) 

orangutans (subfamily Ponginae) 

gibbons (family Hylobatidae) 

Old World monkeys (superfamily Cercopithecoidea) 

New World monkeys (parvorder Platyrrhini) 

tarsiers (infraorder Tarsiiformes) 


lemurs (infraorder Lemuriformes) 

lorises and allies (infraorder Lorisiformes) 



Infraorder Lemuriformes
The five families of Primates that inhabit Madagascar (Lemuridae, Cheirolageidae, Lepilemuridae, Indriidae, and Daubentonidae are lemuroids

Family Lemuridae--lemurs [figs. 14.2, 14.12]

Lemur catta Ring Tailed Lemur © 2002 John White, California Academy of Sciences


  1. Ethiopian (confined to Madagascar)
  2. diurnal or crepuscular
  3. elongate rostrum with small eyes
  4. herbivores, feed on fruit, flowers, leaves, etc,
  5. mainly arboreal
  6. hindlimbs are longer than forelimbs; long tails
  7. most are excellent vertical clingers and leapers
  8. ring-tailed lemurs are frequently quadrupedal terrestrial walkers [fig. 5.14]
  9. tooth comb of six (lower) teeth, including incisiform canine (i2,i3,c1)
  10. more information from Wikipedia

 Family Lepilemuridae-sportive lemur [Fig. 14.13]

  1. Ethiopian (confined to Madagascar)
  2. recently removed from the Lemuridae

Family Cheirogalidae--dwarf and mouse lemurs [Figs. 14.14, 14.15]

  1. Ethiopian (confined to Madagascar)
  2. small, arboreal, nocturnal.
  3. The Madagascan fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Cheirogaleus medius, hibernates in tree holes for seven months of the year, even though winter temperatures rise to over 30 �C. (Nature, 2004, 429:825-826)

Family Indriidae [Fig. 14.16]

  1. Ethiopian (confined to Madagascar)
  2. closely related to lemurs, but with 4 teeth in tooth comb
  3. leaf eaters
  4. vertical clinging and leaping from tree to tree
  5. On the ground, they use bipedal  sideways hop
  6. Indris, wooly lemurs, and Sifakas
  7. Indri indri Indri, photograph by Gerald and Buff Corsi © 2002 California Academy of Sciences


Family Daubentontiidae

  1. Daubentonia, the aye_aye [figs. 7.5, 14.9] 
  2. Ethiopian (confined to Madagascar)
  3. nocturnal, large eyes
  4. evergrowing, chisel-like incisors
  5. hand with extremely long middle finger with wire-like claw [fig. 7.5, 14.9]
  6. mainly insectivorous; also eat pulp of coconuts and mangoes



Infraorder Lorisiformes is represented by two families the Lorisidae (lorises)  and Galagidae (bushbabies) These two families share the following characteristics

  1. arboreal and nocturnal
  2. large forward facing eyes, short muzzles
  3. tooth comb of six (lower) teeth, including incisiform canine (i2,i3,c1)

Family Lorisidae

  1. Ethiopian, Oriental [sub-Saharan Africa to Indonesia and the Philippines]
  2. slow climbers
  3.   tails very short to absent in most (short in the potto)
  4. mainly insectivorous and/or frugivorous
  5. potto (left) & 
  6. slender loris (right) [Fig. 14.10]


Family Galagidae


  1. galagos and bushbabies
  2. Ethiopian
  3. Vertical clingers and leapers from branch to branch 
  4.  well-developed hind limb and long tail
  5. insectivorous, frugivorous, to omnivorous
  6. Galago sp., Lesser Bush Baby, photograph by Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © 2001 California Academy of Sciences


Family Tarsiidae

  • tarsiers [fig 14.17] (uncopyrighted image at left courtesy of the Primate Gallery)
  1. Oriental (Indonesia, Philippines)
  2. digits elongate, terminating in enlarged discs
  3. partial post-orbital closure 
  4. arboreal, nocturnal, insectivorous and carnivorous (lizards)
  5. leap from branch to branch, clinging vertically to limbs
  6. eyes larger than brain and fixed
  7. can rotate head almost 360 degrees
  8. more information from Wikipedia 

 SIMIIFORMES (Anthropoidea)

Superfamily Ceboidea--New World monkeys and marmosets

  1. Neotropical [20 genera, 128 species]
  2. auditory meatus lacking bony tube
  3. three premolars
  4. nostrils directed laterally (platyrrhine)
  5. Previously, the New World primates were divided into two families, one for the marmosets (Callitrichidae), and one for the New World monkeys.  Molecular systematics has led to a major change in grouping


Family Cebidae  capuchins, squirrel monkeys, and marmosets
  1. omnivorous
  2. diurnal
  3. more information from University of Michigan, where this group is treated as a subfamily (Cebinae) of the Cebidae
  4. White faced Capuchin, Manuel Antonio, National Park, Costa Rica


tamarin.jpg (47011 bytes)

Tamarin: click on image to enlarge.  ©2000 ZooNet/ Zoo Atlanta

Subfamily Callitrichinae -marmosets, tamarins [Fig. 14.18]
  1. all very tiny, little sexual dimorphism
  2. arboreal
  3. scramble over branches;
  4. eat fruit and insects; tree gums and saps in some
  5. third molar absent
  6. claws on digits (except halulx); thumb not opposable

spider monkey 

Family Atelididae- Howler, Spider, and Woolly Monkeys
  1. folivores
  2. pollex slightly opposable to absent 
  3. tail prehensile in four genera
  4. semibrachiators 
  5. female spider monkey, Cano Negro, Costa Rica





Family Aotidae--Night monkeys
  1. folivores
  2. nocturnal

Family Cercopithecidae--Old World monkeys [Table 14.2]

  1. Ethiopian, Oriental, Palearctic
  2. largest family [21 genera, 132 species]
  3. auditory meatus with bony tube
  4. two premolars
  5. bilophodont cheek teeth
  6. digits each with flattened nail
  7. tail not prehensile
  8. ischial callosities present
  9. perineal swelling in sexually receptive females
  10. usually diurnal

Chacma Baboons (Papio cynocephalus)
  Kruger National Park, South Africa.
photograph © 2009 by 
Seth Witcher, used with permission

Subfamily Cercopithecinae
  1. mainly African
  2. baboons, mandrills, macaques, mangabeys, guenons
  3. omnivorous: leaves, fruit, seeds, animals
  4. cheek pouches for food storage
  5. terrestrial to arboreal


colobus.jpg (53561 bytes)

Colobus Monkeys: click on image to enlarge.  �2000 ZooNet/Jackson Zoo


Subfamily Colobinae
  1. mainly Asian
  2. colobines, proboscis monkey [Fig. 14.20]
  3. tend to be follivores;
  4. sacculated stomachs with a portion for fermentation and large salivary glands



Family Hylobatidae--gibbons and siamangs [Fig. 14.22]

  1. Oriental--southeast Asia and Malay Archipelago
  2. true brachiators  
  3. can climb quadrupedally and walk bipedally
  4. diet mainly fruit
  5. Gibbon quicktime movie taken by William Lukefahr at the Gladys Porter Zoo

Family Hominidae [Fig. 14.23]

cladogram from Wikipedia


photograph © 2001by Dr. Allan H. Chaney,  used with permission

Orangutans, Chimpanzees, Gorilla
  1. The great apes are a paraphyletic taxon ("Ponginae") of hominids
  2. Ethiopian, Oriental
  3. forelimbs much longer than hindlimbs
  4. basal part of thumb attached to hand
  5. hallux is opposable
  6. orangs are highly arboreal; brachiate slowly
  7. listen to the long call of an adult male orangutan from Orangutan Foundation International
  8. gorillas and chimps are terrestrial knuckle walkers
    1. Knuckle walking gorilla at the US National Zoological Park.  Video by Will Lukefahr.
Subfamily Homininae--Cosmopolitan


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