Fossil Evidence for the Origins of Terrestriality among Old World Higher Primates

  • Monte L. McCrossin
  • Brenda R. Benefit
  • Stephen N. Gitau
  • Angela K. Palmer
  • Kathleen T. Blue


Preference for terrestrial substrates is one of the most significant adaptive differences between some members of the radiation of Old World higher primates and the anthropoids of the Neotropics (Le Gros Clark, 1959; Napier and Napier, 1967, 1985; Fleagle, 1988; Martin, 1990). Adaptations for terrestriality are most conspicuous among savanna baboons (Papio — Rose, 1977), geladas (Theropithecus — Jolly, 1967; Dunbar and Dunbar, 1974), and humans (Napier, 1967). Varying degrees of semi-terrestriality and terrestriality are also present among the African great apes (Gorilla — Remis, 1995 and Pan — Hunt, 1992; Doran, 1993) and some of the Asian colobines (Presbytis entellus — Ripley, 1967 and Rhinopithecus roxellana — Davison, 1982), guenons (Cercopithecus aethiops and Erythrocebus patas — Hall, 1965), mandrills and drills (Mandrillus — Jouventin, 1975), mangabeys (Cercocebus — Waser, 1984), and macaques (e.g., Macaca nemestrina — Caldicott, 1986). In contrast, terrestrial adaptations are notably absent from the otherwise diverse adaptive array of New World anthropoids.


Humeral Head Middle Miocene World Monkey Great Tubercle Humeral Shaft 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monte L. McCrossin
    • 1
  • Brenda R. Benefit
    • 1
  • Stephen N. Gitau
    • 1
  • Angela K. Palmer
    • 1
  • Kathleen T. Blue
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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