Primate Adaptation and Evolution, 3rd Edition

Primate Adaptation and Evolution, 3rd Edition,John Fleagle,ISBN9780123786326


Academic Press




276 X 216

The market leader in Primate Evolution textbooks—now with a new discussion of molecular systematics and adoption of the latest taxonomy!

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Key Features

  • Long-awaited revision of the standard student text on primate evolution
  • Full coverage of newly discovered fossils and the latest taxonomy
  • Over 200 new illustrations and revised evolutionary trees


For many years John Fleagle's text on the adaptation and evolution of primates and early hominoid fossils was the the text of choice for teachers and research workers alike. Now, as the only such work in print, this new edition brings this coverage up to date with the latest fossil finds and most current research.

The book retains its grounding in the extant primate groups as the best way to understand the fossil trail and the evolution of these modern forms. But this coverage is now streamlined, making reference to the many new and excellent books on living primate ecology and adaptation - a field that has burgeoned since the first edition of Primate Adaptation and Evolution. By drawing out the key features of the extant families and referring to more detailed texts, Fleagle sets the scene and also creates space for a thorough updating of the exciting developments in primate palaeontology - and the reconstruction through early hominid species - of our own human origins.

Illustrated with many of the classic pictures from earlier editions - and whole new suite of illustrations, revised evolutionary trees and tables - this book remains the indispensible text on this fascinating subject.


Undergraduate and Post-graduate students studying the evolution and functional ecology of primates and early fossil hominids.
Primatologists, Evolutionary Biologists, Palaeontologists.
Physical Anthropologists, Social Scientists and the Lay Public

John Fleagle

John Fleagle is a primatologist whose research combines field studies and functional morpho-logical analysis. He is interested in the adaptive radiation of primates during the last 50 mil-lion years. He has conducted paleobiological research in Egypt, Argentina, and Ethiopia and has studied living primates in Malaysia, Surinam, Brazil and Madagascar. Fleagle is a MacArthur Fellow. He is the author of the textbook Primate Adaptation and Evolution, and the Editor of Evolutionary Anthropology.

Affiliations and Expertise

State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA

Primate Adaptation and Evolution, 3rd Edition



Chapter 1. Adaptation, Evolution, and Systematics




Taxonomy and Systematics


Chapter 2. The Primate Body

Primate Anatomy


Cranial Anatomy

The Brain and Senses

The Trunk and Limbs

Soft Tissues

Growth and Development


Chapter 3. Primate Lives

Primate Habitats

Habitat Use

Activity Patterns

A Primate Day

Primate Diets


Social Life

Why Primates Live in Groups

Primate Life Histories

Primate Communities


Chapter 4. The Prosimians: Lemurs, Lorises, Galagos and Tarsiers


Malagasy Strepsirrhines

Subfossil Malagasy strepsirrhines

Adaptive Radiation of Malagasy Primates

Galagos and Lorises

Adaptive Radiation of Galagos and Lorises

Phyletic Relationships of Strepsirrhines



Chapter 5. New World Anthropoids

Primate Grades and Clades

Anatomy of Higher Primates






Adaptive Radiation of Platyrrhines

Phyletic Relationships of Platyrrhines


Chapter 6. Old World Monkeys

Catarrhine Anatomy




Adaptive Radiation of Old World Monkeys

Phyletic Relationships of Old World Monkeys


Chapter 7. Apes and Humans


Adaptive Radiation of Hominoids

Phyletic Relationships of Hominoids


Chapter 8. Primate Communities and Biogeography

Primate Biogeography


Chapter 9. Primate Adaptations

Effects of Size

Adaptations to Diet

Primate Sensory Adaptations

Locomotor Adaptations

Locomotor Compromises

Locomotion, Posture, and Ecology

Anatomical Correlates of Social Organization

Brains, Behavior, and Ecology

Adaptation and Phylogeny


Chapter 10. The Fossil Record

Geological Time

Molecular Dating of Phylogeny

Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift


Fossils and Fossilization


Reconstructing Behavior



Chapter 11. Primate Origins

Euarchontans – Primates and Other Mammals

Tree Shrews

Flying Lemurs


Adaptive Radiation of Plesiadapiforms

Plesiadapiforms and Primates

Primates Among the Archonta

The Adaptive Origin of Primates


Chapter 12. Fossil Prosimians

The First Modern Primates







Other Asian Adapoids

Azibiids, Djebelemurids, and Plesiopithecus: North African Stem Strepsirrhines?

Fossil Lorises and Galagos

Adapoids and Strepsirrhines?


Omomyoids, Tarsiers, and Haplorhines

Adaptive Radiations and Biogeography of Fossil Prosimians

Origin and Early Evolution of Primates


Chapter 13. Early Anthropoids

The Oligocene

Early Anthropoids from Africa and Arabia

Phyletic Relationships

Eocene Anthropoids from Asia

Early Anthropoid Adaptations

Phyletic Relationships of Early Anthropoids

Prosimian Origins of Anthropoids


Chapter 14. Fossil Platyrrhines

The Platyrrhine Fossil Record

The Earliest Platyrrhines

The Patagonian Platyrrhines

A More Modern Community

Late Miocene Amazonian Monkeys

Pleistocene Platyrrhines

Caribbean Primates

Summary of Fossil Platyrrhines

Platyrrhine Origins


Chapter 15. Primitive Catarrhines and Fossil Apes

Miocene Epoch

Middle-Late Oligocene Primitive Catarrhines from Arabia and Africa

Early and Middle Miocene ‘Apes’ from Africa

Phyletic Relationships of Proconsuloids and other African Miocene Apes

Phylogenetic Relationships of Western Eurasian Apes

Phyletic Relationships of Asian Apes

The Evolution of Living Hominoids

Evolution of Gibbons

Evolution of the Orangutan

Evolution of African Apes

The Biogeography of Ape Evolution


Chapter 16. Fossil Old World Monkeys

Victoriapithecids: The Earliest Old World Monkeys

Fossil Cercopithecids

Fossil Cercopithecines

Fossil Colobines

Eurasian Colobines

Fossil Record of Cercopithecoids


Chapter 17. Fossil Hominins, the Bipedal Primates

Pliocene Epoch

Early Hominin Adaptations and Hominin Origins

Postcranial Adaptations

Phyletic Relationships of Early Hominins

Pleistocene Epoch

Human Phylogeny

Hominin Evolution in Perspective


Chapter 18. Patterns in Primate Evolution

Primate Adaptive Radiations

Adaptation and Phylogeny

Patterns in Primate Phylogeny

Primate Extinctions

Limiting Primate Extinctions



Appendix 1. Classification of the Order Primates

Genera in bold contain extant members


Chapter 1: Further Reading

Chapter 2: Further Reading

Chapter 3: Further Reading

Chapter 4: Further Reading

Chapter 5: Further Reading

Chapter 6: Further Reading

Chapter 8: Further Reading

Chapter 9: Further Reading

Chapter 10: Further Reading

Chapter 11: Further Reading

Chapter 12: Further Reading

Chapter 13: Further Reading

Chapter 14: Further Reading

Chapter 15: Further Reading

Chapter 16: Further Reading

Chapter 17: Further Reading

Chapter 18: Further Reading



Quotes and reviews

" indispensible reference and must-have textbook for students and scholars with an interest in the evolutionary history of the primates...Hats off to Fleagle for producing a superb book that every primatologist needs and only he could write."--The Quarterly Review of Biology, Primate Adaptation and Evolution, Third Edition

"Fleagle has revised and rewritten each chapter, redone all the tables, added many new figures, and replaced almost all the references. One of the changes is that he now uses a suite of criteria to estimate body mass from fossil skeletons, rather than the single formula he formerly used."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013

Reviews of the First Edition

"Fleagle's a tour de force as well as a tour d'horizon of the primate order....Fleagle's book fills a long-standing need for a comprehensive and up-to-date introductory text in its field."

"Just occasionally in academic life there comes together in one person research ability, industry, and the willingness to communicate. This is indeed the case for John Fleagle's textbook. An admirable book that deserves the success that it will undoubtedly achieve."

"Professional primatologists and students alike will be delighted with John Fleagle's Primate Adaptation and Evolution, which will brilliantly refresh any university reading list in the subject. For many university courses on primate biology, it will undoubtedly become a primary text."

"This is an excellent book on primate comparative anatomy, behavioral ecology, and paleontology."

"John Fleagle has done it! Primate Adaptation and Evolution is the readable and "seeable," but still traditional, textbook that my students have been waiting for someone to write."

"This book will be welcomed with a sigh of relief in departments of anatomy and biological anthropology world-wide. Here at last is an up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable textbook for courses in primate and human evolution.... It will, and should, stand as a major teaching resource for primate evolution for some years to come. It is an excellent text and a reflection of Fleagle's major contributions to our field."

"This volume is basically designed as an advanced undergraduate or graduate textbook but is so well illustrated and organized that it can also be used as a general source or reference for less specialized readers. No other single work can match the range of its topics, which matches the interests of its author, one of the leading students of primate paleontology, behavior, morphology, and evolution."

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