Paleogene Prosimians

Marc Godinot

in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945425 | DOI:
Paleogene Prosimians

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The term prosimians is a grouping of all the primates that are outside the anthropoidean, or simian, clade. The suborder Strepsirrhini, which includes two infraorders, Adapiformes and Lemuriformes, to which now needs to be added the informal stem lemuriforms, genera that are more closely related to lemuriforms than to adapiforms, but that do not possess the defining character of lemuriforms. All the living African and Asian Lorisoidea and Malagasy Lemuroidea possess a shared derived dental structure, composed of the two lower incisors and the canine, which are procumbent and closely appressed into an anterior tooth comb. This allows the convenient distinction between the lemuriforms (all living Strepsirrhines with a tooth comb) and the extinct adapiforms. A number of discoveries clarified important points of systematics and phylogeny, while others continue to add controversial taxa. Some fossils, added to the variety of primates already found in Africa, have sometimes been used as evidence for the origin and diversification of primates on the African continent.

Keywords: Paleogene; prosimians; primates; Africa; Strepsirrhini; lemuriforms; adapiforms; Lorisoidea; Lemuroidea; fossils

Chapter.  12630 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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