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  • ISBN: 9780295977041
  • ISBN10: 0295977043

Introduction to the Primates

by Daris R. Swindler

  • List Price: $30.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Washington Pr
  • Publish date: 06/01/1998
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Description
Introduction to the Primates is a comprehensive but compact guide to the long evolutionary history of the world's prosimians, monkeys, and apes, and to the much shorter history of humankind's interactions with them, from our earliest recorded observations to the severe threats we now pose to their survival.

Daris Swindler chronicles our continuing interest in our closest nonhuman relatives and our growing understanding of them. After establishing the principles of taxonomy and the requirements for classification as a primate, he provides a detailed description of the major primate groups and their environments, from the smallest lemurs of Madagascar to the gorillas of central Africa. He compares and contrasts the primate species, looking at each with a specific anatomical focus: blood groups; the skull; teeth, diet, and digestion; the brain and the senses; the skeleton and locomotion; and growth and development. The range of diversity emerges as the particular characteristics of the species become increasingly distinct.

Swindler also considers primate behavior and its close connections with environment and differences. Primate practices such as brachiation, knuckle-walking, toolmaking, and communication are compared across species.

The fossil record of the world's primates reveals dental traces of the Paleocene epoch's Purgatorius, the earliest candidate for classification as a primate, and the increasingly rich findings of more recent eras. Swindler demonstrates the drama of paleontology as evidence accrues, hypotheses are formed, challenged, and reconsidered, and gaps in the history of primate evolution gradually close.

This account of 65 million years of successful adaptationand evolution concludes with a chapter on the great threat the success of the most recent primate, Homo sapiens, now poses to the survival of the world's nonhuman primates. Because our close familial ties to these creatures has been made so plain, this last message is particularly poignant and effective.

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