Geographic Variation in Primates

A Review with Implications for Interpreting Fossils
  • Gene H. Albrecht
  • Joseph M. A. Miller
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


Knowledge of geographic variation is fundamental to recognizing the kinds and numbers of both living and extinct primate species. This review focuses on geographic variation in the craniodental anatomy of living primates. We limit our attention to multivariate studies that used craniometric and/or odonto-metric data to investigate differences among demes, subspecies, and closely related species. Our intent is to document the nature of geographic variation in the skulls and teeth of living primates and, then, to discuss the problems and prospects of dealing with such variation among fossils. We begin with some general background observations about geographic variation and speciation in primates.


Geographic Variation Generalize Distance Canonical Variate Spider Monkey Canonical Variate Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aimi, M., Bakar, A., and Supriatna, J. 1982. Morphological variation of the crab-eating macaque, Macaca fascicularts (Raffles, 1821), in Indonesia. Kyoto University Overseas Research Report of Studies on Asian Non-Human Primates, Kyoto University Primate Research Institute, 2:51–56.Google Scholar
  2. Albrecht, G. H. 1976. A Multivariate Analysis of the Craniofacial Morphology of the Sulawesi Macaques (Primates: Cercopithecidae). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Chicago, Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Albrecht, G. H. 1977. Methodological approaches to morphological variation in primate populations: The Celebesian macaques. Yrbk. Phys. Anthropol. (1976) 20:290–308.Google Scholar
  4. Albrecht, G. H. 1978. The craniofacial morphology of the Sulawesi macaques: Multivariate approaches to biological problems. Contr. Primat. 13:1–151.Google Scholar
  5. Albrecht, G. H. 1979. The study of biological versus statistical variation in multivariate morphometrics: The descriptive use of multiple regression analysis. Syst. Zool. 28:338–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Albrecht, G. H. 1980a. Latitudinal, taxonomic, sexual, and insular determinants of size variation in pigtail macaques, Macaca nemestnna. Int. J. Pnmatol. 1:141–152.Google Scholar
  7. Albrecht, G. H. 1980b. Multivariate analysis and the study of form, with special reference to canonical variate analysis. Am. Zool. 20:679–693.Google Scholar
  8. Albrecht, G. H. 1980c. Size variation in the skull of modern human populations. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 52:199.Google Scholar
  9. Albrecht, G. H. 1982. The relationships between size, latitude, and habitat in the South American primate, Calhthnx jacchus. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 57:166.Google Scholar
  10. Albrecht, G. H 1983. Geographic variation in the skull of the crab-eating macaque, Macaca fas- cicularis (Primates Cercopithecidae) Am J. Phys. Anthropol 60:169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Albrecht, G. H 1993. Assessing the affinities of fossils using canonical variates and generalized distances, Hum. Evol. (in press)Google Scholar
  12. Albrecht, G. H., Jenkins, P D., and Godfrey, L. R. 1990. Ecogeographic size variation among the living and subfossil prosimians of Madagascar. Am J Pnmatol 22:1–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bernstein, I. S. 1966 Naturally occurring primate hybrid. Science 154:1559–1560.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Booth, S. N., and Freedman, L 1970. Multivariate discriminant analysis applied to cranial features of Papio ursinus and P. cynocephalus. Folia Pnmatol. 12:296–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cheverud, J. M, and Moore, A. J. 1990. Subspecific morphological variation in the saddle-back tamarin (Saguimus fuscicolls) Am J Pnmatol 21:1–15.Google Scholar
  16. Coimbra-Filho, A. F., and Mittermeier, R A. 1973. New data on the taxonomy of the Brazilian marmosets of the genus Calhthrix Erxleben, 1777. Folia Pnmatol. 20:241–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corner, B D., and Richtsmeier, J T. 1991. Morphometnc analysis of craniofacial growth in Cebus apella Am J Phys Anthropol 84:323–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Courtenay, J., Groves, C., and Andrews, P. 1988. Inter- or mtra-island variation? An assessment of the differences between Bornean and Sumatran orang-utans, in: J. H. Schwartz (ed.), Orangutan Biology, pp. 19–30. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Creel, N and Preuschoft, H. 1976. Cranial morphology of the lesser apes. Gibbon and Siamang 4:219–303Google Scholar
  20. Creel, N, and Preuschoft, H 1984. Systematics of the lesser apes: A quantitative taxonomic analysis of craniometrc and other variables, in: D. J. Chivers, H. Preuschoft, W. Y. Brockelman, and N. Creel (eds), The Lesser Apes, pp. 562–613 Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  21. Drenhaus, U 1975. Ein Beitrag zur Taxonomie der Lemuriformes Gregory 1915 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Gattung Lepilemur I. Geoffroy 1851. Doctoral Dissertation, Christian- Albrechts-Universitat, Kiel.Google Scholar
  22. Endler, J A. 1977. Geographie Variation, Speciation, and Clines Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  23. Endler, J A. 1989 Conceptual and other problems in speciation, in. D. Otte and J. A. Endler (eds), Speciation and its Consequences, pp 625–648 Sinauer Associates Publishers, Sunderland, MA.Google Scholar
  24. Fa, J E 1989 The genus Macaca a review of taxonomy and evolution. Mammal Rev. 19:45–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fooden, J 1964 Rhesus and crab-eating macaques: intergradation in Thailand. Science 143:363–365.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fooden, J. 1969. Taxonomy and evolution of the monkeys of the Celebes (Primates: Cercopithecoidae). Bibl Pnmatol 10:1–148.Google Scholar
  27. Fooden, J 1971 Report on primates collected in western Thailand January-April, 1967. Fieldiana- Zool 59:1–62.Google Scholar
  28. Fooden, J 1975. Taxonomy and evolution of hontail and pigtail macaques (Primates: Cercopithecidae) Fieldiana Zool 67:1–169.Google Scholar
  29. Fooden, J 1976 Provisional classification and key to living species of macaques (Primates: Macaca). Folia Pnmatol. 25:225–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fooden, J 1979. Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: I. Species and subspecies accounts of Macaca sinica Primates 20:109–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fooden, J 1980 Classification and distribution of living macaques (Macaca Lacépède, 1799), in: D G. Lindburg (ed), The Macaques Studies in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, pp. 1–9. Van Nostrand Remhold, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Fooden, J 1981. Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: 2. Species and subspecies accounts of the Indian bonnet macaque, Macaca radiata Fieldiana Zool, New Series 9:1–52, 1981Google Scholar
  33. Fooden, J 1982. Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: 3. Species and subspecies accounts of Macaca assamensis Fieldiana- Zool New Series 10:1–52.Google Scholar
  34. Fooden, J 1983 Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: 4. Species account of Macaca thubetana Fieldiana Zool, New Series 17:1–20.Google Scholar
  35. Fooden, J 1986. Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: 5. Overview of natural history. Fieldiana Zool, New Series 29:1–22.Google Scholar
  36. Fooden, J. 1988. Taxonomy and evolution of the sinica group of macaques: 6. Interspecific comparisons and synthesis Fieldiana Zool, New Series 45:1–44.Google Scholar
  37. Fooden, J. 1990. The bear macaque, Macaca arctoides: a systematic review. Hum. Evol. 19:607–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fooden, J. 1991. Systematic review of Philippine macaques (Primates, Cercopithecidae: Macaca fascicularis subspp.). Fieldiana: Zool., New Series 64:1–44.Google Scholar
  39. Fooden, J., Guoqiang, Q., Zongren, W., and Yingxiang, W. 1985. The stumptail macaques of China. Am. J. Primatol. 8:11–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Froehlich, J. W., Supriatna, J., and Froehlich, P. H. 1991. Morphometnc analyses of Ateles: Systematic and biogeographic implications. Am. J Primatol. 25:1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Fujita, K. 1987. Species recognition by five macaque monkeys. Primates 28:353–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Godfrey, L. R., and Marks, J. 1991. The nature and origins of primate species. Yrbk. Phys. Anthropol. 34:39–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Godfrey, L. R., and Petto, A. J. 1981. Clinal size variation in Archaeolemur spp. on Madagascar, in: B. Chiarelli and R. L. Corruccini (eds.), Primate Evolutionary Biology, pp. 14–34. Springer-Verlag, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Godfrey, L. R., Sutherland, M. R., Petto, A J., and Boy, D. S. 1990. Size, space, and adaptation in some subfossil lemurs from Madagascar. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 81:45–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Gould, S. J., and Johnston, R. F. 1972. Geographic variation. Ann. Rev Ecol. Syst. 3:457–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gower, J. C. 1966a. A Q-technique for the calculation of canonical variates. Biometrika 53:588–590.Google Scholar
  47. Gower, J. C. 1966b. Some distance properties of latent root and vector methods used in multivariate analysis. Biometrika 53:325–338.Google Scholar
  48. Groves, C. P. 1970. Population systematics of the gorilla. Zool., Lond. 161:287–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Groves, C. P. 1972. Systematics and phylogeny of gibbons. Gibbon and Siamang 1:1–89.Google Scholar
  50. Groves, C. P. 1980. Speciation in Macaca the view from Sulawesi, in: D. G. Lindburg (ed.), The Macaques: Studies in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, pp. 84–124. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.Google Scholar
  51. Groves, C. P. 1984. A new look at the taxonomy and phylogeny of the gibbon, in: D. J. Chivers, H. Preuschoft, W. Y. Brockelman, and N Creel (eds.), The Lesser Apes, pp. 542–561. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  52. Groves, C. P. 1986. Systematics of the great apes, in: D. R. Swindler and J. Erwin (eds.), Comparative Primate Biology, Volume 1: Systematics, Evolution, and Anatomy, pp. 187–217. Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  53. Guglielmino-Matessi, C. R., Gluckman, P., and Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. 1979. Climate and evolution of skull metrics in man. Am. J. Phys Anthropol 50:549–564.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hamada, Y., Watanabe, T, Suryobroto, B., and Iwamoto, M. 1987. Morphological studies of the Sulawesi macaques: morphological specializations in the black ape (Macaca nigra) with ecological and sociological consideration. Kyoto University Overseas Research Report of Studies on Asian Non- Human Primates (Kyoto University Primate Research Institute) 6:31–47Google Scholar
  55. Hayes, V. J., Freedman, L., and Oxnard, C. E. 1990 The taxonomy of savannah baboons: An odontomorphometric analysis. Am. J Primatol 22:171–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Hershkovitz, P. 1975. Comments on the taxonomy of Brazilian marmosets (Callithnx, Calhtrichidae). Folia Primatol. 24:137–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Hershkovitz, P. 1977. Living New World Monkeys (Platyrrhim) with an Introduction to Primates, Vol. 1. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  58. Hershkovitz, P. 1984. Taxonomy of squirrel monkeys genus Saimiri (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): A preliminary report with description of a hitherto unnamed form. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 7:155–210.Google Scholar
  59. Hill, W. C. O. 1960. Primates. Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy. IV. Cebidae. Part A. Edinburgh University Press, Great Britain.Google Scholar
  60. Howells, W. W. 1973. Cranial variation in man. A study by multivariate analysis of patterns of differences among recent human populations. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 67.Google Scholar
  61. Hull, D. B. 1979. A craniometric study of the black and white Colobus Ilhger 1811 (Primates: Cer- copithecoidea). Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 51:163–182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Hyndman, D. C., Ulijhszek, S. J., and Lourie, J. A. 1989. Variability in body physique, ecology, and subsistence in the Fly River Region of Papua New Guinea Am. J. Phys Anthropol 79:89–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Jacobshagen, B. 1979. Morphometric studies in the taxonomy of the orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus, L. 1760). Folia Primatol 32:29–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Jenkins, P. D. 1987. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History) and Elsewhere in the British Isles, Part IV: Suborder Strepsirrhim, Including the Subfossil Madagascan Lemurs and Family Tarsiidae. British Museum (Natural History), London.Google Scholar
  65. Jenkins, P. D., and Albrecht, G. H. 1991. Sexual dimorphism and sex ratios in Madagascan prosimians. Am. J. Pnmatol. 24:1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Jungers, W. L., and Rumpler, Y. 1976. Craniometnc collaboration of the specific status of Lepilemur septentnonalis, an endemic lemur from the north of Madagascar. Hum. Evol. 5:317–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Kawamoto, Y., Takenaka, O., and Brotoisworo, E. 1982. Preliminary report on genetic variations within and between species of Sulawesi macaques. Kyoto University Overseas Research Report of Studies on Asian Non-Human Primates 2:23–37.Google Scholar
  68. Kimbel, W. H. 1991. Species, species concepts and hominid evolution, J Hum Evol. 20:355–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Lernould, J-M. 1988. Classification and geographical distribution of guenons: a review, in: A. Gautier-Hion, F. Bourlière, and J.-P. Gautier (eds.), A Primate Radition: Evolutionary Biology of the African Guenons, pp. 54–78. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  70. Marshall, J., and Sugardjito, J. 1986. Gibbon systematics, in: J. Erwin (ed.), Comparative Primate Biology, Volume 1, Systematics, Evolution, and Anatomy, pp. 137–186. Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  71. Masters, J., and Lubinsky, D. 1988. Morphological clues to genetic species: Multivariate analysis of greater galago sibling species. Am. J. Phys Anthropol. 75:37–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Mayr, E. 1963. Animal Species and Evolution Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  73. Mayr, E. 1969. Principles of Systematic Zoology. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  74. Mittermeier, R. A., and Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1981. Systematics: species and subspecies, in: A. F. Coimbra-Filho and R. A. Mittermeier (eds.), Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 1, pp. 29–110. Academia Brasileira de Ciências, Rio de Janeiro.Google Scholar
  75. Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., and Coimbra-Filho, A. F. 1988. Systematics: species and subspecies—an update, in: R. A. Mittermeier, A. B. Rylands, A. F. Coimbra-Filho, and G. A. B. Fonseca (eds.), Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 2, pp. 13–75 World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  76. Moore, J. A. 1991. Science as a way of knowing. VII. A conceptual framework for biology. Part III. Am. Zool. 31:349–470.Google Scholar
  77. Napier, P. H. 1976. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History), Part I: Families Callitrichidae and Cebidae. British Museum (Natural History), London.Google Scholar
  78. Napier, P H. 1981. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History) and Elsewhere in the British Isles, Part II: Family Cercopithecidae, Subfamily Cercopithecinae. British Museum (Natural History), London.Google Scholar
  79. Napier, P. H. 1985. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History) and Elsewhere in the British Isles, Part IIF Family Cercopithecidae, Subfamily Colobinae. British Museum (Natural History), London.Google Scholar
  80. Nash, L. T., Bearder, S. K., and Olson, T. R. 1989. Synopsis of Galago species characteristics. Int. J. Pnmatol. 10:57–80.Google Scholar
  81. Natori, M. 1990. Numerical analysis of the taxonomic status of Callithnx kuhli based on measurements of the postcanine dentition. Primates 31:555–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Natori, M., and Hanihara, T. 1988. An analysis of interspecific relationships of Sagumus based on cranial measurements. Primates 29:255–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Natori, M., and Hanihara, T. 1989. Interspecific variations of Saguinus in dental measurements and its systematic relationships. Primates 30:265–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Otte, D., and Endler, J. A. (eds.). 1989. Speciation and Its Consequences. Sinauer Associates Publishers, Sunderland, MA.Google Scholar
  85. Passarello, P., and Vecchi, F. 1979. Morphologic variability of human African populations south of the Sahara. / Hum. Evol. 8:467–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Pocock, R. I. 1925a. Additional notes on the external characters of some platyrrhine monkeys. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 97:27–47.Google Scholar
  87. Pocock, R. I. 1925b. The external characters of the catarrhine monkeys and apes. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond 97:1479–1579.Google Scholar
  88. Popp, J. L. 1983. Ecological determinism in the life histories of baboons. Primates 24:198–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Reyment, R. A., Blackith, R. E., and Campbell, N. A. 1984. Multivariate Morphometrics. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  90. Shea, B. T., and Coolidge, Jr., H. J. 1988. Craniometnc differentiation and systematics in the genus Pan. J Hum. Evol. 17:671–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Simpson, G. G. 1961. Principles of Animal Taxonomy. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  92. Supriatna, J. Froehlich, J. W., Costin, C., Southwick, C., Sugardjito, J., and Erwin, J. 1990. Interspecies interactions between Macaca maurus and Macaca tonkeana in Sulawesi Selatan. Abstracts of XIII Congress of the International Primatological Society, Nagoya and Kyoto, Japan, July 18–24, p. KYT 23 AM.Google Scholar
  93. Tattersall, I. 1982. The Primates of Madagascar. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  94. Tattersall, I. 1986. Species recognition in human paleontology. J. Hum. Evol. 15:165–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Tattersall, I. 1991. What was the human revolution?/. Hum. Evol 20:77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Thorington, R. W., Jr., 1985. The taxonomy and distribution of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri), in: L. A. Rosenblum and C. L. Coe (eds.) Handbook of Squirrel Monkey Research, pp. 1–33. Plenum Publishing, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Turner, T. T, Maiers, J. E., and Mott, C. S. 1988. Population differentiation in Cercopithecus monkeys, in: A. Gautier-Hion, F. Bourlière and J.-P. Gautier (eds.), A Primate Radiation: Evolutionary Biology of the African Guenons, pp. 140–149. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  98. Verheyen, W. N. 1962. Contribution à la craniologie comparée des primates, Les genres Colobus Illiger 1811 et Cercopithecus Linne 1758. Musée Royal de L’Afrque CentraleTervuren, Belgique AnnalesSerie in 8°Sciences Zoologiques—n. 105. pp. 1–255.Google Scholar
  99. Vitzthum, V.J. 1986. The Role of Ecological Factors in Odontometric Variability and its Implication for Body Size Adaptations in Cercopithecidae. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  100. Watanabe, K., Lapasere, H., and Tantu, R. 1991. External characteristics and associated developmental changes in two species of Sulawesi macaques, Macaca tonkeana and M. hecki, with special reference to hybrids and the borderland between the species. Primates 32:61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Watanabe, T. 1982. Mandibie/basihyal relationships in red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus): a craniometrical approach. Primates 23:105–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gene H. Albrecht
    • 1
  • Joseph M. A. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations