Anthropoid Origins

Part of the series Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects pp 615-644

Color as an Indicator of Food Quality to Anthropoid Primates: Ecological Evidence and an Evolutionary Scenario

  • Nathaniel J. DominyAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago

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Detecting, acquiring, and assimilating food is essential to survival. Accordingly, students of primate evolution have long sought and found associations between diet and anatomical design. Similarly, studies of food nutritive properties have established key paradigms in primate foraging behavior and community structure. However, studies linking primate sensory adaptations to feeding ecology are few (Dominy et al., 2001). Here I have three aims: First, to briefly describe the visual constitution of primates and the perceptual properties of edible vegetation; second, to report physicochemical correlations within the top ranking foods of four catarrhines; and, third, to outline an ecological scenario for the evolution of anthropoid color vision.