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Temporal range: Early Eocene–Present
Tarsius syrichta03.jpg
Tarsiers are prosimian primates, but more closely related to monkeys, apes, and humans (simians) than to other prosimians.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Prosimii not used in
formal taxonomy)

Illiger, 1811

Prosimians are a group of proto-primates. It includes all living and extinct strepsirrhines (lemurs, lorises, and adapiforms),[2] as well as the haplorhine tarsiers and their extinct relatives, the omomyiforms.

They have characteristics that are more "primitive" (ancestral or plesiomorphic) than those of simians (monkeys, apes, and humans).[2]

Prosimians are a paraphyletic group and not a clade (a group of an ancestor and all its descendants). Tarsiers share a more recent common ancestor with all simians than with the strepsirrhines. Consequently, the term "prosimian" is no longer an official term in taxonomy. It is still used to compare their behaviour with that of other primates.

Prosimians are the only primates native to Madagascar, but are also found throughout Africa and in Asia.

References[change | change source]

  1. The division of the order Primates into two evolutionary grades, Prosimii ("lower primates") and Anthropoidea ("higher primates") is sometimes used, but has been shown through morphological and genetic evidence to be incorrect. Alternatively, a three-way split in the order Primates—Prosimii, Tarsiiformes, and Anthropoidea—has also been suggested.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Whitten P.L. & Brockman D.K. 2001. "Chapter 14: Strepsirrhine reproductive ecology". In Ellison, P. T. Reproductive ecology and human evolution. Transaction Publishers. pp. 321–350. ISBN 978-0-202-30658-2.