New World monkey

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New World monkeys
Brown spider monkey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Parvorder: Platyrrhini
Geoffroy, 1812
Superfamily: Ceboidea

New World monkeys are the five families of primates that are found in Central and South America. The five families are ranked together as the Ceboidea superfamily, the only living platyrrhine superfamily. They differ from the Old World monkeys and apes, which are Catarrhini.

Origin[change | change source]

About 40 million years ago, the simians split into the groups: the Platyrrhini (New World monkeys) and Catarrhini (apes and Old World monkeys.[1] The key question is how did the early monkeys get to the Americas? There is at present no evidence for either of the two possible routes. Route one is across the then less wide Atlantic. Route two is across Asia, across the Behring Strait, and down through North America.[2]

There are some big differences between the two groups of monkeys. New World monkeys have noses of flatter shape, most do not have full colour vision,[3] they have a different dental formula, many form monogamous pair bonds, with paternal care for the young, mostly, twin births are common,[4] their thumbs are not opposable, and so on.

References[change | change source]

  1. Robert W. Shumaker & Benjamin B. Beck (2003). Primates in question. Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-58834-176-3.
  2. Alan de Queiroz, The Monkey's Voyage, Basic Books, 2014.
  3. Jacobs G.H. et al 1996. Trichromatic colour vision in New World monkeys. Nature 382 (6587): 156–158. [1]
  4. New World Monkeys. [2]