Temporal range: Middle Eocene-Holocene, 40–0 Ma
|A catarrhine (common chimpanzee) and a platyrrhine (red-faced spider monkey)|
The simian line and the tarsier line diverged about 60 million years ago (during the Cenozoic era). Forty million years ago, simians from Africa colonized South America, giving rise to the New World monkeys. The remaining simians (catarrhines) split 25 million years ago into apes and Old World monkeys.
Taxonomy and evolution
In earlier classification, New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, apes, and humans—collectively known as simians or anthropoids—were grouped under Anthropoidea (/ˌænθɹoˈpɔɪdiə/, Gr. άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, also called anthropoids), while the strepsirrhines and tarsiers were grouped under the suborder "Prosimii". Under modern classification, the tarsiers and simians are grouped under the suborder Haplorhini while the strepsirrhines are placed in suborder Strepsirrhini. Strong genetic evidence for this is that five SINEs are common to all Haplorhines whilst absent in Strepsirrhines - even one being coincidental between tarsiers and simians would be quite unlikely. Despite this preferred taxonomic division, prosimian is still regularly found in textbooks and the academic literature because of familiarity, a condition likened to the use of the metric system in the sciences and the use of customary units elsewhere in the United States. In anthropoidea, evidences indicate that the Old and the New World primates went through parallel evolution.
Primatology, paleoanthropology, and other related fields are split on their usage of the synonymous infraorder names, Simiiformes and Anthropoidea. According to Robert Hoffstetter (and supported by Colin Groves), the term Simiiformes has priority over Anthropoidea because of the taxonomic term Simii by van der Hoeven, from which it is constructed, dates to 1833. In contrast, Anthropoidea by Mivart dates to 1864, while Simiiformes by Haeckel dates to 1866, leading to counterclaims of priority. Hoffstetter also argued that Simiiformes is also constructed like a proper infraorder name (ending in -iformes), whereas Anthropoidea ends in -oidea, which is reserved for superfamilies. He also noted that Anthropoidea is too easily confused with "anthropoïdes", which translates to "apes" from several languages.
Extant simians are split into three distinct groups. The New World monkeys in parvorder Platyrrhini split from the rest of the simian line about , leaving the parvorder Catarrhini occupying the Old World. This group split about between the Old World monkeys and the apes.
There are also some lines of extinct simian, either placed into Eosimiidae (to reflect their Eocene origin) and sometimes in Amphipithecidae, thought to originate in the Early Oligocene. Additionally, Phileosimias is sometimes placed in the Eosimiidae and sometimes categorised separately.
|Phylogeny of living (extant) primates|
|Cladogram. For each clade, it is indicated approximately how many million of years ago (Mya) newer extant clades radiated.|
- Order Primates
- Suborder Strepsirrhini: non-tarsier prosimians
- Suborder Haplorhini: tarsiers + monkeys, including apes
- Infraorder Tarsiiformes
- Infraorder Simiiformes
- Parvorder Platyrrhini: New World monkeys
- Parvorder Catarrhini
Key Biological Features
In a section of their 2010 assessment of the evolution of anthropoids (simians) entitled 'What Is An Anthropoid', Williams, Kay and Kirk set out a list of biological features that are common to all or most anthropoids, including genetic similarities, similarities in eye location and the muscles close to the eyes, internal similarities between ears, dental similarities, and similarities on foot bone structure.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Simians|
|Wikispecies has information related to Simian|
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- BioMed Central Full text Gene conversion and purifying selection of a placenta-specific ERV-V envelope gene during simian evolution
- ADW Simiiformes Classification
- Taxonomy browser (Simiiformes)
- Late middle Eocene epoch of Libya yields earliest known radiation of African anthropoids
- Mouse-Sized Primates Shed Light on Human Origins