This chapter is an attempt to sketch the evolution of the primate lineage in the broadest possible ecological terms. Inevitably, it is based partly on the ideas of others. At minimum, any novelty that we can offer probably derives from insights gleaned from fieldwork on living primates. From that field backdrop, we extrapolate to other epochs. At maximum, this account is likely to be thought to be completely beyond the bounds of acceptable speculation. For this excess, however, we are unrepentant and hope that at least some of
Peter W. Lucas • Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, 2110 G Street NW, Washington DC 20037; Nathaniel J. Dominy • Department of Anthropology, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064; Daniel Osorio • School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG. UK; Wanda Peterson-Pereira, Pablo Riba-Hernandez, and Silvia Solis-Madrigal • Escuela de Biologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica; Kathryn E. Stoner • Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 27-3 (Xangari), Morelia, Michoacán 58089, México; Nayuta Yamashita • Department of Cell and Neurobiology, BMT 408, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9112
the ideas possess credibility. Our general focus is on correlating the evolution of primates with that of angiosperms, interpreting this association via diet. We take our lead here from various sources, but the influences of Cartmill (1972) and Sussman (1991) have been very strong in this regard, as will be obvious. Our explanations are simplistic and based on a likely sequence of sensory cues that animals use to find foods, starting from color vision, which acts most efficiently at longer distances, 5-25 m or so (Janson and Di Bitetti, 1997), to those acting in or around the mouth—like texture and taste (Dominy et al., 2001).
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