Locomotor Adaptations of Eocene Primates: Adaptive Diversity Among the Earliest Prosimians

  • Herbert H. Covert


Since the initial discovery of Eocene primates well over a century ago it has been widely recognized that these animals more closely resemble the prosimians than any other group of living creatures. This fact, along with the realization by evolutionary biologists that form — function — adaptive role relationships among extant creatures provide the basis for making inferences about the adaptations of extinct creatures, indicates that to understand the adaptations of the Eocene primates we must have a firm understanding of the adaptations of extant prosimians. For much of this century our ability to make suggestions about the adaptations of Eocene primates was hampered by the lack of skeletal material for the vast majority of these taxa and the lack of field observations on extant prosimian primates. This has changed dramatically during the past 35 years. Samples of post-cranial remains of Eocene primates have improved significantly and there is now a tremendous amount of information on the ecology of the extant prosimians so that we are now able to offer a range of informed suggestions about the behavior of these earliest primates. Extensive reviews of the ecology and behavior of the extant prosimians can be found in Martin et al. (1974), Charles-Dominique et al. (1980), Fleagle (1988), and this volume. Recent reviews of some of this fossil material can be found in Covert (1986), Fleagle (1988), Gebo (1988), Gebo et al. (1991), Conroy (1990), and Dagosto (1993).


Middle Eocene Locomotor Behavior Mouse Lemur Physical Anthropology Extant Primate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert H. Covert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Colorado, BoulderBoulderUSA

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