Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 13, Issue 3–4, pp 243–245 | Cite as

Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, The Ape in the Tree. An Intellectual and Natural History of Proconsul

Belknap Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005, 288 pp., $26.95 (cloth), ISBN 0–674-01675-0
  • Terry Harrison
Book Review

Since the early 1930s, when the first fossil catarrhines from the early Miocene of East Africa were introduced to the scientific community, these primates have figured prominently in interpretations of the phylogeny of apes and humans. Indisputably, the best known of these fossil catarrhines is Proconsul, which is represented by hundreds of teeth, jaw fragments, and isolated postcranial elements, as well as a number of partial skeletons, from sites in Kenya and Uganda. In fact, we know more about the skeletal anatomy of Proconsul than any other Miocene catarrhine. Although there has been considerable debate about the phylogenetic placement of Proconsul (opinions range from it being a stem catarrhine, a stem hominoid, and a stem great ape), there is, nevertheless, universal agreement that Proconsul is profoundly important for understanding the divergence, evolutionary history, and paleobiology of the earliest hominoids.

The Ape in the Tree, written by a husband and wife team, explores...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of AnthropologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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