Origins and Evolution of Early Primates

  • Masanaru Takai
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series (PrimMono)


The origin of the order Primates has been one of the hottest topics of primatology for a century. It was traditionally believed that the primates originated in North America as early as the end of the Cretaceous, based on the fossil record. Based on morphological analysis of living mammalian taxa, it has long been advocated that the closest relatives of primates are the Chiroptera (bats), Dermoptera (flying lemurs), and Scandentia (tree shrews). However, recent developments in molecular biology have revealed that primates originated probably in the late Cretaceous and are not closely related to bats. Moreover, not only primates but also all placental mammals might have originated in the southern supercontinent, Gondwanaland. Considering the molecular biological analyses and the recent discoveries of fossil evidence, the late Cretaceous circum-Tethys region could have been the stage for the initial evolution of primates.


Late Cretaceous Fossil Record Placental Mammal Fossil Specimen Fossil Taxon 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan

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