Early North African Primates and Their Significance for the Origin of Simiiformes (= Anthropoidea)

  • Marc Godinot
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


Twelve years ago, just after the publication of the volume dedicated to platyrrhine origins (Ciochon and Chiarelli, 1980), Hoffstetter made a remarkable attempt to synthesize information and debates about simiiform (= anthropoid) evolution. What he wrote then holds true today: “We are still far away from a consensus about phylogeny and biogeographical history, that is to say about the evolution, of these animals [primates]” (Hoffstetter, 1982, p. 242, translated). In this paper, Hoffstetter drew attention to the inconveniences of the vernacular term “anthropoid,” ambiguous in many languages. In all these languages, anthropoid means apes, often great apes only, which is quite different from “Anthropoidea.” Furthermore, the Code of Zoological Nomenclature recommends that the suffix -oidea be reserved for super-families, an almost universal use in mammalogy. Hoffstetter added: “As Szalay and Delson (1979) revealed the existence of a genus Anthropus, synonym of Homo, Anthropoidea is a synonym of Hominoidea and must be definitely rejected” (Hoffstetter, 1982, translated). I follow the authors who, since this time, use Simiiformes Hoffstetter, 1974 instead of Anthropoidea Mivart, 1864 (vernacular: simiiform or simian).


Middle Eocene Late Eocene Lower Molar Occlusal View Main Cusp 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Godinot
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Institut des Sciences de l’EvolutionUniversité Montpellier IIMontpellier Cédex 5France

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