Chapter

<i>Tupai:</i> an Introduction

Louise H. Emmons

in Tupai

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520222915
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925045 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222915.003.0001
Tupai: an Introduction

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This introductory chapter explains the theme of this book, which is about the treeshrews of Borneo. It provides a brief overview of thought on treeshrew taxonomy and phylogeny and the search for their true, but often mistaken, identity. The chapter explains that before 1900, treeshrews were generally thought to be in the order Insectivora and related to the true shrews, but by the first decade of the twentieth century comparative anatomists separated them from that order and proposed a closer relationship to other groups. It suggests that treeshrews are the most closely related living models of the very earliest primate ancestors of the late Cretaceous period, and that their lifestyles can provide a window onto our earliest antecedents, and perhaps a view of why evolution may have taken the direction it did.

Keywords: treeshrews; Borneo; taxonomy; phylogeny; Insectivora; primate ancestors; Cretaceous period; evolution

Chapter.  2249 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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