Origin and Deployment of New World Monkeys Emphasizing the Southern Continents Route

  • R. Hoffstetter
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


The name Platyrrhini has been erected to designate the extant neotropical monkeys (including marmosets), which zoologists agree to group into a super-family Ceboidea. Living in the tropical forests of South and Central America, they are distinguished from the recent Old World monkeys by the presence of three premolars (instead of two), their ring-shaped ectotympanic (not developed into a bony tube), their inflated auditory bulla, several details of cranial architecture (notably the parietal-jugal contact, which must have been constant in the group at its origin), placentation (no cytotrophoblastic shell, trabecular condition of the placental disk: see Luckett, 1975) and also by platyrrhiny [which, as redefined by Hofer (1976), is diagnostic for the group]. Practically all fossil primates known from South America and the West Indies are referred to this group: late Pleistocene or Holocene of Brazil (five recent genera), Hispaniola (Saimiri: see Rimoli, 1977) and Jamaica (Xenothrix); middle Miocene of Colombia (Neosaimiri, Cebupithecia, Stirtonia); early Miocene (Homunculus) and latest Oligocene (Dolichocebus, Tremacebus) of Patagonia, and also early Oligocene of Bolivia (Branisella). However, Hershkovitz (1974a) has expressed doubts as to the n of Branisella within the Platyrrhini and even within the Haplorhini. According to him, the small single-rooted P2 of this fossil would indicate a trend toward the disappearance of this tooth, and the quadritubercular pattern of its upper molars (provided with a hypocone) would prevent this genus from being placed among the ancestors of the marmosets (whose triangular molars lack a hypocone). In my opinion (Hoffstetter,1969), Branisella has retained the ancestral characters of the Haplorhini in both respects (these characters are also found in the earliest Tarsiiformes: Omomyidae), and the Callitrichidae have secondarily lost their hypocones (a loss also observed in ancient Tarsiiformes such as Chumashius and modern ones such as Tarsius). This question will be returned to later.


World Monkey Fetal Membrane Main Cusp Apomorphous Character Primate Phylogeny 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Hoffstetter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de PaléontologieMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

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