Overview

Comprehensive Description

Lemuriformes is an infraorder of primate that falls under the suborder Strepsirrhini. It includes the lemurs of Madagascar, as well as the galagos and lorisids of Africa and Asia, although a popular alternative taxonomy places the lorisoids in their own infraorder, Lorisiformes (Perelman et al., 2011; Roos et al., 2004; Stanger-Hall, 1997). Lemuriform primates are characterized by a toothcomb, a specialized set of teeth in the front, lower part of the mouth that is mostly used for combing fur during grooming.[1] 

EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY:

Until discoveries of three 40-million-year-old fossil lorisoids (Karanisia, Saharagalago, and Wadilemur) in the El Fayum deposits of Egypt between 1997 and 2005, the oldest known lemuriforms had come from the early Miocene (~20 mya) of Kenya and Uganda. These newer finds demonstrate that lemuriform primates were present during the middle Eocene in Afro-Arabia and that the lemuriform lineage and all other strepsirrhine taxa had diverged before then.[7][8][9] Djebelemur from Tunisia dates to the late early or early middle Eocene (52 to 46 mya) and has been considered a cercamoniine,[10] but also may have been a stem lemuriform.[3] Azibiids from Algeria date to roughly the same time and may be a sister group of the djebelemurids. Together with Plesiopithecus from the late Eocene Egypt, the three may qualify as the stem lemuriforms from Africa.[4]

Until discoveries of three 40-million-year-old fossil lorisoids (Karanisia, Saharagalago, and Wadilemur) in the El Fayum deposits of Egypt between 1997 and 2005, the oldest known lemuriforms had come from the early Miocene (~20 mya) of Kenya and Uganda. These newer finds demonstrate that lemuriform primates were present during the middle Eocene in Afro-Arabia and that the lemuriform lineage and all other strepsirrhine taxa had diverged before then.[7][8][9] Djebelemur from Tunisia dates to the late early or early middle Eocene (52 to 46 mya) and has been considered a cercamoniine,[10] but also may have been a stem lemuriform.[3] Azibiids from Algeria date to roughly the same time and may be a sister group of the djebelemurids. Together with Plesiopithecus from the late Eocene Egypt, the three may qualify as the stem lemuriforms from Africa.[4]

Molecular clock estimates indicate that lemurs and the lorisoids diverged in Africa during the Paleocene, approximately 62 mya. Between 47 and 54 mya, lemurs dispersed to Madagascar by rafting.[8] In isolation, the lemurs diversified and filled the niches often filled by monkeys and apes today.[11] In Africa, the lorises and galagos diverged during the Eocene, approximately 40 mya.[8] Unlike the lemurs in Madagascar, they have had to compete with monkeys and apes, as well as other mammals.[12]

TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION:

Most of the academic literature provides a basic framework for primate taxonomy, usually including several potential taxonomic schemes.[13] Although most experts agree upon phylogeny,[14] many disagree about levels of primate classification.[13]

Within Strepsirrhini, two common classifications include either two infraorders (Adapiformes and Lemuriformes)[15] or three infraorders (Adapiformes, Lemuriformes, Lorisiformes).[16] A less common taxonomy places the aye-aye (Daubentoniidae) in its own infraorder, Chiromyiformes.[17] In some cases, plesiadapiforms are included within the order Primates, in which case Euprimates is sometimes treated as a suborder, with Strepsirrhini becoming an infraorder, and the Lemuriformes and others become parvorders.[18] Regardless of the infraordinal taxonomy, crown strepsirrhines are composed of 10 families, three of which are extinct.[15] These three extinct families included the giant lemurs of Madagascar,[19] many of which died out within the last 1,000 years following human arrival on the island.[20]

When Strepsirrhini is divided into two infraorders, the clade containing all toothcombed primates can be called "lemuriforms".[15] When it is divided into three infraorders, the term "lemuriforms" refers only to Madagascar's lemurs,[11] and the toothcombed primates are referred to as either "crown strepsirrhines"[24] or "extant strepsirrhines".[25] Confusion of this specific terminology with the general term "strepsirrhine", along with oversimplified anatomical comparisons and vague phylogenetic inferences, can lead to misconceptions about primate phylogeny and misunderstandings about primates from the Eocene, as seen with the media coverage of Darwinius.[26] Because the skeletons of adapiforms share strong similarities with those of lemurs and lorises, researchers have often referred to them as primitive strepsirrhines,[27] lemur ancestors, or a sister group to the living strepsirrhines. They are included in Strepsirrhini,[25] and are considered basal members of the clade.[28] Although their status as true primates is not questioned, the questionable relationship between adapiforms and other living and fossil primates leads to multiple classifications within Strepsirrhini. Often, adapiforms are placed in their own infraorder due to anatomical differences with lemuriforms and their unclear relationship. When shared traits with lemuriforms (which may or may not be synapomorphic) are emphasized, they are sometimes reduced to families within the infraorder Lemuriformes (or superfamily Lemuroidea).[29]

  • Perelman, Polina, Warren E. Johnson, Christian Roos, Hector N. Seuánez, Julie E. Horvath, Miguel A. M. Moreira, Bailey Kessing, et al. “A Molecular Phylogeny of Living Primates.” PLoS Genet 7, no. 3 (March 17, 2011): e1001342. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001342.
  • Cartmill, M.; Smith, F. H. (2011). The Human Lineage. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-21145-8.
  • Roos, Christian, Jürgen Schmitz, and Hans Zischler. “Primate Jumping Genes Elucidate Strepsirrhine Phylogeny.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101, no. 29 (July 20, 2004): 10650–10654. doi:10.1073/pnas.0403852101.
  • Stanger-Hall, Kathrin F. “Phylogenetic Affinities Among the Extant Malagasy Lemurs (Lemuriformes) Based on Morphology and Behavior.” Journal of Mammalian Evolution 4, no. 3 (September 1, 1997): 163–194. doi:10.1023/A:1027345624734.
  • 1 Cartmill, M.; Smith, F. H. (2011). The Human Lineage. John Wiley Cartmill & Smith 2011, Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-21145-8. pp. 89–90.
  • 2 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 182 & 186.
  • 3 Godinot, M. (2006). "Lemuriform origins as viewed from the fossil record". Folia Primatologica 77 (6): 446–464. doi:10.1159/000095391. PMID 17053330. p. 446.
  • 4 Tabuce, R.; Marivaux, L.; Lebrun, R.; Adaci, M.; Bensalah, M.; Fabre, P. -H.; Fara, E.; Gomes Rodrigues, H.; Hautier, L.; Jaeger, J. -J.; Lazzari, V.; Mebrouk, F.; Peigne, S.; Sudre, J.; Tafforeau, P.; Valentin, X.; Mahboubi, M. (2009). "Anthropoid versus strepsirhine status of the African Eocene primates Algeripithecus and Azibius: Craniodental evidence". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276 (1676): 4087–4094. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1339. Lay summary – Science Daily (15 September 2009). pp. 4091–4092.
  • 5 Janečka, J.E.; Miller, W.; Pringle, T.H.; Wiens, F.; Zitzmann, A.; Helgen, K.M.; Springer, M.S.; Murphy, W.J. (2007). "Molecular and genomic data identify the closest living relative of primates" (PDF). Science 318 (5851): 792–794. doi:10.1126/science.1147555. PMID 17975064.
  • 6 Asher, R. J.; Bennett, N.; Lehmann, T. (2009). "The new framework for understanding placental mammal evolution". BioEssays 31 (8): 853–864. doi:10.1002/bies.200900053. PMID 19582725. p. 856.
  • 7 Hartwig, W. C, ed. (2002). The primate fossil record. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1. p. 24–25.
  • 8 Vaughan, T.; Ryan, J.; Czaplewski, N. (2011). "Chapter 12: Primates". Mammalogy (5th ed.). Jones Vaughan, Ryan & Czaplewski 2011, Bartlett Learning. ISBN 978-0-7637-6299-5. pp. 170–171.
  • 9 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 187.
  • 10 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 185.
  • 11 Cartmill, M.; Smith, F. H. (2011). The Human Lineage. John Wiley Cartmill & Smith 2011, Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-21145-8. p. 89.
  • 12 Hartwig, W. C, ed. (2002). The primate fossil record. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1. p. 29.
  • 13 Hartwig, W. C, ed. (2002). The primate fossil record. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1. pp. 20 & 22.
  • 14 Sussman, R. W. (2003). Primate Ecology and Social Structure. Pearson Custom Publishing. ISBN 978-0-536-74363-3. p. 45.
  • 15 a b c Cartmill, M.; Smith, F. H. (2011). The Human Lineage. John Wiley Cartmill & Smith 2011, Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-21145-8. p. 90.
  • 16 Hartwig, W. C, ed. (2002). The primate fossil record. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1. p. 20.
  • 17 Groves, C. P. (2005). "Strepsirrhini". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 111. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. p. 121.
  • 18 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 166.
  • 19 Godfrey, L. R.; Jungers, W. L. (2002). "Chapter 7: Quaternary fossil lemurs". p. 106.
  • 20 Godfrey, L. R.; Jungers, W. L. (2002). "Chapter 7: Quaternary fossil lemurs". p. 97.
  • 21 Cartmill, M. (2010). "Primate Classification and Diversity". In Platt, M.; Ghazanfar, A. Primate Neuroethology. Oxford University Press. pp. 10–30. ISBN 978-0-19-532659-8. p. 15.
  • 22 Hartwig, W. C, ed. (2002). The primate fossil record. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1. pp. 20–21.
  • 23 Groves, C. P. (2005). "Strepsirrhini". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 111. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
  • 24 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 186.
  • 25 Vaughan, T.; Ryan, J.; Czaplewski, N. (2011). "Chapter 12: Primates". Mammalogy (5th ed.). Jones Vaughan, Ryan & Czaplewski 2011, Bartlett Learning. ISBN 978-0-7637-6299-5. p. 169.
  • 26 Williams, B. A.; Kay, R. F.; Christopher Kirk, E.; Ross, C. F. (2010). "Darwinius masillae is a strepsirrhine—a reply to Franzen et al. (2009)". Journal of Human Evolution 59 (5): 567–573; discussion 573–9. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.01.003. PMID 20188396. p. 567.
  • 27 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 181.
  • 28 Covert, H. H. (2002). "Chapter 3: The earliest fossil primates and the evolution of prosimians: Introduction". pp. 13–20. p. 18.
  • 29 Rose, K. D. (2006). The Beginning of the Age of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8472-6. p. 179.
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