Beard, K. Christopher Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
- Evolutionary context
- Early Asian anthropoids
- Early African anthropoids
- Mosaic evolution
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Anthropoids (living monkeys, apes, and humans, together with their fossil relatives) share a host of anatomical, behavioral, and genetic traits that are absent in other primates. These features include relatively large brains, complete bony eye sockets, and multiple changes to the genome known as short interspersed repetitive element (SINE) insertions. As a result, anthropoids have always been recognized as biologically distinctive. Anthropoids are sometimes called “higher primates” because of the wide gap separating them from other primates and their evolutionary proximity to humans. The study of anthropoid origins is compelling because it illuminates a distant phase of our evolutionary history that has previously been elusive.
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