John Fleagle: Primate Evolution and the Importance of Fossils
Early evolution of primates and how to tell the story
John G. Fleagle
John G. Fleagle is a dsitinguished professor at the Department of Anatomical Sciences in the School of Medicine at the Stony Brook University, and one of most outstanding scientists in the field of physical anthropology and is regarded as one of the most eminent primatologists and paleoprimatologists in the world.
John Fleagle's research currently focuses on several areas: (1) Fieldwork and functional studies on the early evolution of Old World anthropoids from the Oligocene and Miocene of Africa (Egypt, Kenya, and Ethiopia); (2) fieldwork and phylogenetic studies of primates and other mammals from the Miocene of Argentina; (3) functional studies of primate leaping; (4) comparative studies of the structure of modern primate communities.'
In studies published in PNAS he and his co-workers showed that the number of primate species on continents and large islands is a function of the area of tropical forest on those land masses, and that in all continents except Asia there is a strong correlation between the number of species in a local community and the mean annual rainfall. In a study published in the Journal of Human Evolution, they showed that in quantitative features of diet, locomotion and activity cycle, different primate communities within a biogeographical region are more similar to one another than to communities on other continents.