Platyrrhine Monkeys: The Fossil Evidence

  • Thomas Defler
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)


This chapter presents the partial evolutionary history known of the platyrrhine primates through their known fossils. New evidence for the earliest known primates comes to us from Peru, so that we now have tropical evidence of Perupithecus and others, superseding the many higher-latitude primates known from the Southern Cone. The previous earliest known primates (Branisella, Szalatavus) are known also from a totally different habitat 20 million years later. These earliest fossils prove the important role of tropical forest in the evolution of South American primates. The newly discovered Eocene primates have similarities to early African fossils. In this chapter I describe how primates might have (and probably did) arrived in South America and just what the conditions would have had to be for the success of such a precarious voyage. New phylogenetic analyses point out the probable stem lines from the main crown primates that help clarify primate diversification in South America.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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