Temporal range: Early Miocene
The family Dendropithecidae is an extinct family of fossil catarrhines and the only known members of the Dendropithecoidea superfamily. They date from the Early Miocene, around 20 - 17 million years ago.
Fossils of the two Dendropithecus species, Dendropithecus macinnesi and Dendropithecus ugandensis, have been found in East Africa, including several partial skeletons of Dendropithecus macinnesi on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria. Other species are Simiolus andrewsi, Simiolus cheptumoae, Simiolus enjiessi, Micropithecus clarki and Micropithecus leakeyorum.
The taxa included in Dendropithecoidea (and by extension Dendropithecidae, as it is the only family currently placed in this superfamily) possess the following traits:
- Upper and lower canines strongly bilaterally compressed
- P3 moderately to strongly specialized for sectoriality
- Slender limb bones
- Humerus with a relatively straight shaft
- Medial epicondyle of the humerus is large and medially directed
- Epitrochlear fossa is well developed
- Zona conoidea is broad and shallow
- Trochlear articular surface exhibits minimal spooling
- Olecranon fossa is shallow
Upon creating this designation, Harrison noted that many of the characters that unite the clade may be primitive for catarrhines, allowing for the possibility that the dendropithecoids are a paraphyletic group.
- Harrison, T. (2013). "Catarrhine Origins". In Begun, D. R. (ed.). A Companion To Paleoanthropology. Wiley Blackwell. p. 376-396. ISBN 978-1-118-33237-5. Archived from the original on 2013.
- Harrison, T. (2002). "Late Oligocene to middle Miocene catarrhines from Afro-Arabia". In Hartwig, W. C. (ed.). The Primate Fossil Record. Cambridge University Press. p. 311-338.
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