Reconstructing the Past: The Paleobiology and Paleoecology of Primates
Interpretation of the paleobiology of extinct primates relies on indirect evidence linking morphology to particular attributes of a species’ ecological niche—be it diet, mode of locomotion, body size, sensory ecology, social systems, etc. Reconstructions require understanding the functional attributes of the anatomical systems of living primates followed by an inference by analogy about the behavior of the extinct ones. We examine similarities and differences in the primates living on different continents through time as well as contested paleoecological scenarios related to primate origins and ape and human origins. Recommended prerequisite: 200-300 level course in paleontology, anatomy, or ecology.