Cover image for Primate taxonomy
Primate taxonomy
Groves, Colin P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : Smithsonian Institution Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 350 pages ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL737.P9 G86 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In this book, Colin Groves proposes a complete taxonomy of living primates, reviewing the history and practice of their classification and providing an up-to-date synthesis of recent molecular and phylogenetic research. He contends that the taxonomic designation of individual species is the starting point for conservation, and that the taxonomy of living species is critical to understanding evolutionary relationships. At the heart of the book are species-by-species accounts in which Groves reviews the recent history of each group and offers many new taxonomic arrangements. He evaluates several distinctive former subspecies to full species status and reestablishes the status of a number of previously overlooked taxa. Discussing the major taxonomic issues of each group, he describes the reasoning behind his conclusions and objectively offers explanations of opposing views. He also briefly outlines a possible taxonomy of fossil primates based on the taxonomy of living primates.

Author Notes

Colin Groves is professor of biological anthropology at Australian National University, Canberra.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Part 1 The Theory of Primate Taxonomyp. 1
1. What Taxonomy Is Meant to Do and How It Should Do Itp. 3
Levels of Taxonomy
Changing the Names
The Meaning of "Relatedness"
The Emergence of Defined Taxonomic Philosophies
The Importance of Monophyly
Problems with Cladistics
The DNA Revolution
The Cladistic Method
The Fossil Record
2. Taxonomic Ranking and Nomenclaturep. 15
The Linnaean Hierarchy
Adding More Categories
Ages of the Different Ranks
Should Taxa Be Ranked at All?
Rules of Nomenclature
3. The Species-Groupp. 26
Theoretical Species Concepts
Operational Species Concepts
The Species in Paleontology
Need Species Be Monophyletic?
Subspecies and Populations
Phylogeography and Subspecies
The Consequences for Conservation
4. A Brief History of Primate Taxonomyp. 39
Successors to Linnaeus
The Early Nineteenth Century: The French School
The Early Nineteenth Century: The German Contribution
Primate Taxonomy Takes Off in the Anglophone World
The Age of Prolixity
The Age of Revisions
The Chromosome Revolution
The Protein Revolution
The DNA Revolution
The Fieldwork Revolution
Late Twentieth-Century Synthesis
Where the Main Collections Are
Protocol for Alpha Taxonomy
5. Taxonomy of Primates above the Family Levelp. 54
Dividing the Strepsirrhini
Dividing the Haplorrhini
Interrelationships of Platyrrhines
A Classification of Primates to Family Level
Part 2 Putting Primate Taxonomy into Practicep. 63
Malagasy Lemursp. 65
Family Cheirogaleidae Gray, 1873p. 65
Family Lemuridae Gray, 1821p. 72
Family Megaladapidae Forsyth Major, 1893p. 83
Family Indridae Burnett, 1828p. 86
Family Daubentoniidae Gray, 1863p. 92
Loriformesp. 93
Family Loridae Gray, 1821p. 93
Family Galagonidae Gray, 1825p. 99
Tarsiiformesp. 121
Family Tarsiidae Gray, 1825p. 121
Platyrrhinip. 126
Family Cebidae Bonaparte, 1831p. 126
Subfamily Hapalinae Gray, 1821p. 126
Subfamily Cebinae Bonaparte, 1831p. 148
Subfamily Chrysotrichinae Cabrera, 1900p. 156
Family Nyctipithecidae Gray, 1870p. 162
Family Pitheciidae Mivart, 1865p. 167
Subfamily Pitheciinae Mivart, 1865p. 167
Subfamily Callicebinae Pocock, 1925p. 170
Family Atelidae Gray, 1825p. 178
Subfamily Mycetinae Gray, 1825p. 178
Subfamily Atelinae Gray, 1825p. 186
Old World Monkeys--Superfamily Cercopithecoidea Gray, 1821p. 196
Family Cercopithecidae Gray, 1821p. 196
Subfamily Cercopithecinae Gray, 1821p. 196
Tribe Cercopithecini Gray, 1821p. 196
Tribe Papionini Burnett, 1828p. 220
Subfamily Colobinae Jerdon, 1867p. 246
African Groupp. 246
Langur Groupp. 257
Odd-Nosed Groupp. 285
Hominoids--Superfamily Hominoidea Gray, 1825p. 289
Family Hylobatidae Gray, 1870p. 289
Family Hominidae Gray, 1825p. 298
Subfamily Ponginae Elliot, 1912p. 298
Subfamily Homininae Gray, 1825p. 300
Appendix A Word about Fossil Primatesp. 310
Glossaryp. 312
Literature Citedp. 317
Indexp. 341