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The New World Primates: Adaptive Radiation and the Evolution of Social Behavior, Languages, and Intelligence

The New World Primates: Adaptive Radiation and the Evolution of Social Behavior, Languages, and Intelligence

Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The New World Primates: Adaptive Radiation and the Evolution of Social Behavior, Languages, and Intelligence
    Book Description:

    The New World primates have radiated widely in tropical America, evolving a variety of adaptations to cope with different ways of life. This comparative survey examines many species. Some are highly specialized in unique ways; others have paralleled the lemurs of Madagascar or the monkeys and apes of Africa and Asia. The author's emphasis is on natural history, behavior, and ecology. Topics include geographical distributions, habitat preferences, territorial arrangements, activity rhythms, feeding techniques, defense mechanisms, and competition and cooperation among individuals of the same species. Much of the material is new, based on recent research in the field. Social reactions and organizations, and communication systems, are discussed in order to consider their implications for the evolution of primates in general and the development of languages and intelligence.

    Originally published in 1976.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7044-8
    Subjects: Zoology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
    Martin Moynihan
    (pp. 3-12)

    Most primates are easy to recognize as such, but the recognition usually is based upon unconscious assessment of data that are difficult to describe or summarize concisely.

    The classical definition of the order was by Mivart (1873): “Unguiculate, claviculate, placental mammals, with orbits encircled by bone; three kinds of teeth, at least at one time of life; brain always with a posterior lobe and calcarine fissure; the innermost digit of at least one pair of extremities opposable; hallux with a flat nail or none; a well-developed caecum; penis pendulous; testes scrotal; always two pectoral mammae.”

    Unfortunately, this definition is neither...

  5. chapter two THE SETTING
    (pp. 13-18)

    The physiography of South America is simple in broad outline, with the high chains of the Andes to the west, older and lower mountains in parts of the east, and extensive lowlands in the drainage basins of the great rivers, the Magdalena, Orinoco, Amazon, Paraná, and others. The area is approximately 11,200 square kilometers. A very substantial proportion, perhaps 75 per cent, lies between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. (Figures taken from Keast, 1972a.)

    The bulk of the tropical area is lowland. At the present time, much of it is covered by different kinds of forest and scrub, including...

  6. chapter three NATURAL HISTORY
    (pp. 19-110)

    This chapter should be introduced with a warning. The information available on living ceboids is heterogeneous. Certain kinds of ecological and demographic data are complete, quantitative, and elegant. Other material is partial and anecdotal. It is all accumulating rapidly. Something is known of the habitat preferences, movements, and feeding habits of at least one member of each of the major subgroups. In some cases, it is even possible to compare several forms to estimate the range of variation within a subgroup.

    The following accounts will be more concerned with genera, populations, and individuals than with the taxonomic units of species...

    (pp. 111-148)

    Social behavior in the broadest, and perhaps only logical, sense includes all interactions between or among individuals of the same or different species, whether friendly or unfriendly, gregarious, sexual, aggressive, parental, or other.

    Each species of primates has its own internal social arrangements. There have been several attempts to classify and rank such arrangements; see, for instance, Crook and Gartlan (1966) and Eisenberg et al. (1972). Some of the proposed typological refinements do not seem to me to be very pertinent to the ceboids. These animals have two extremes of social organization: the small “nuclear” family, and the large troop....

    (pp. 149-186)

    The repertories of signals used by many New World primates were discussed in Moynihan (1967). There have been further studies of the signals of several forms, e.g.SaimiriandCebuella,in more recent years. They have increased our knowledge by many factual details, without, I think, altering our impression of the general situation. Thus, some of the following notes will be brief and recapitulatory. Others will be concerned with certain theoretical and evolutionary questions.

    The various signals of ceboids, like those of most other mammals, can be grouped into four categories: tactile, olfactory, visual, and acoustic. These may intergrade or overlap...

    (pp. 187-190)

    The characteristics of New World primates might be summarized as follows:

    1. The systematic group as a whole, the family Cebidae in the broad sense, includes a substantial number of species. They can be assigned to some twelve or thirteen genera, divided among eight or nine subgroups. The subgroups seem to have evolved independently from a common ancestor. Their development has been divergent in most respects, but parallel or even convergent in others.

    2. At the present time, there is seldom more than one species per genus in any given area.

    3. The various species, genera, and subgroups are diverse...

    (pp. 191-210)

    There are only two or three other groups of modern primates that have radiated on something like the same scale as the ceboids. These are the lemuroids of Madagascar and the monkeys and apes of Africa and Asia. A brief comparison of the various radiations may reveal some further aspects of the evolution of primates in general.

    The Malagasy lemuroids are the easiest to describe. All the species of the group probably are quite closely related to one another. It is only unfortunate that their fossil record is brief, nonexistent before the Pleistocene or sub-Recent. The known fossil forms indicate...

    (pp. 211-220)

    The various species and groups of primates may not be equally clever, but most of them are, and have been for millions of years, brighter than most other mammals or other vertebrates. Marked increases of intelligence have evolved repeatedly, independently, in different kinds of primates in different areas at different times. The obvious question is, why?

    It is very unlikely that mutations for greater brain size or intellectual capacity do not occur in all animals. They may occur with some appreciable frequency. They do not, however, always become established in populations. This suggests two further and more precise questions. Why...

  12. appendix one Some Groups of Amazonian Monkeys
    (pp. 221-222)
  13. appendix two A Partial “Synoptic” List of Ceboids
    (pp. 223-224)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 225-248)
  15. Index
    (pp. 249-262)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)