The modern man is spread all over the world. Our closest relatives, the apes, the monkeys, and the lemurs, only live in tropical or subtropical areas.
Today there are 153 different species of primates in the world. They are divided into five main groups:
- Man; 1 genus, 1 species
- Apes; 4 genera, 11 species
- Old World monkeys; 14 genera, 72 species
- New World monkeys; 16 genera, 33 species
- Prosimians; 20 genera, 36 species
The primates evolved from insectivores at the beginning of the Tertiary, about 65 million years ago. In the Eocene there were many different lemurs. The new world monkeys were isolated in South- and Middle America early in the Tertiary, and still live only on that continent. The old world monkeys became numerous and common only towards the end of the Tertiary and in the Quaternary. The apes had their richest evolution in the Miocene. Today they are rare.
All six main groups of primates, which evolved during the Tertiary and Quaternary, have living members. Therefore, studies of living species tell us a lot about the evolutionary history of the primates. List of contents in the primate showcase
Publisert 30. jan. 2009 09:07 - Sist endret 18. mai. 2011 16:00