Page images
PDF
EPUB

development of the maxillary bones into strong lateral ridges corresponds to the structure of the most typical baboons. This species extends further east than any other quadrumanous animal.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Cebidae, which comprehend all the larger American Monkeys, differ from those of the Old World by having an additional molar tooth in each jaw, and a broad nasal septum ; while they have neither cheek-pouches nor ischial callosities, and the thumb is never completely opposable. Some have prehensile tails, especially adapting them for an arboreal life. They are divided into four sub-families, Cebinae, Mycetinae, Pitheciinae, and Nyctipithecinae. The Cebidae are strictly confined to the forest regions of tropical America, from the southern part of Mexico to about the parallel of 30° South Latitude. The distribution of the genera is as follows:–

Sub-family, Cebinae.—Cebus (18 sp.), is the largest genus of American monkeys, and ranges from Costa Rica to Paraguay. They are commonly called Sapajous. Lagothria (5 sp.), the woolly monkeys, are rather larger and less active than the preceding; they are confined to the forests of the Upper Amazon Valley, and along the slopes of the Andes to Venezuela and Bolivia. Ateles (14 sp.), the spider monkeys, have very long limbs and tail. They range over the whole area of the family, and occur on the west side of the Equatorial Andes and on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Eriodes (3 sp.), are somewhat intermediate between the last two genera, and are confined to the eastern parts of Brazil south of the equator. The three last mentioned genera have very powerful prehensile tails, the end being bare beneath; whereas the species of Cebus have the tail completely covered with hair, although prehensile, and therefore not so perfect a grasping organ. Sub-family, Mycetinae, consists of but a single genus, Mycetes

(10 sp.), the howling monkeys, characterized by having a hollow bony vessel in the throat formed by an enlargement of the hyoid bone, which enables them to produce a wonderful howling noise. They are large, heavy animals, with a powerful and perfect prehensile tail. They range from East Guatemala to Paraguay. (Plate XIV., vol. ii., p. 24.)

Sub-family, Pitheciinae, the sakis, have a non-prehensile bushy tail. Pithecia (7 sp.), has the tail of moderate length; while Brachiurus (5 sp.) has it very short. Both appear to be restricted to the great equatorial forests of South America.

Sub-family, Nyctipithecinae, are small and elegant monkeys, with long, hairy, non-prehensile tails. Nyctipithecus (5 sp.), the night-monkeys or douroucoulis, have large eyes, nocturnal habits, and are somewhat lemurine in their appearance. They range from Nicaragua to the Amazon and eastern Peru. Saimiris or Chrysothriw (3 sp.), the squirrel-monkeys, are beautiful and active little creatures, found in most of the tropical forests from Costa Rica to Brazil and Bolivia. Callithria (11 sp.), are somewhat intermediate between the last two genera, and are found all over South America from Panama to the southern limits of the great forests.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Hapalidae, or marmosets, are very small monkeys, which differ from the true Cebidae in the absence of one premolar tooth, while they possess, the additional molar tooth; so that while they have the same number of teeth (thirty-two) as the Old World monkeys, they differ from them even more than do the Cebidae. The thumb is not at all opposable, and all the fingers are armed with sharp claws. The hallux, or thumb-like great toe, is very small; the tail is long and not prehensile. The two genera Hapale (9 sp.), and Midas (24 sp.), are of doubtful value, though some naturalists have still further sub-divided them. They are confined to the tropical forests of South America, and are most abundant in the districts near the equator.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Lemuridae, comprehending all the animals usually termed Lemurs and many of their allies, are divided by Professor Mivart —who has carefully studied the group—into four sub-families and eleven genera, as follows:–

Sub-family Indrisinae, consisting of the genus Indris (5 sp.), is confined to Madagascar.

Sub-family Lemurinae, contains five genera, viz. –Lemur, (15 sp.); Hapalemur (2 sp.); Microcebus (4 sp.); Chirogaleus (5 sp.); and Lepilemur (2 sp.);-all confined to Madagascar.

Sub-family Nycticebinae, contains four genera, viz.:-Nycticebus (3 sp.)—small, short-tailed, nocturnal animals, called slow-lemurs, —range from East Bengal to South China, and to Borneo and Java; Loris (1 sp.)—a very small, tail-less, nocturnal lemur, which inhabits Madras, Malabar, and Ceylon; Perodicticus (1 sp.) —the potto—a small lemur with almost rudimentary forefinger, found at Sierra Leone (Plate V., vol. i., p. 264); Arctocebus (1 sp.)—the angwantibo-another extraordinary form in which the forefinger is quite absent and the first toe armed with a long claw-inhabits Old Calabar.

Sub-family Galaginae, contains only the genus Galago (14 sp.), which is confined to the African continent, ranging from Senegal and Fernando Po to Zanzibar and Natal.

[blocks in formation]

The curious Tarsius spectrum, which constitutes this family, inhabits Sumatra, Banca, and Borneo, and is also found in some parts of Celebes, which would bring it into the Australian region; but this island is altogether so anomalous that we can only consider its productions to have somewhat more affinity with the Australian than the Oriental region, but hardly to belong to either. The Tarsier is a small, long-tailed, nocturnal animal, of curious structure and appearance; and it forms the only link of connection with the next family, which it resembles in the extraordinary development of the toes, one of which is much larger and more slender than the rest. (Plate VIII, vol. i. p. 337)

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The Aye-aye, (Chiromys), the sole representative of this family, is confined to the island of Madagascar. It was for a long time very imperfectly known, and was supposed to belong to the Rodentia; but it has now been ascertained to be an exceedingly specialized form of the Lemuroid type, and must be considered to be one of the most extraordinary of the mammalia now inhabiting the globe. (Plate VI, vol. i., p. 278)

Fossil Quadru/mana.

Not much progress has yet been made in tracing back the various forms of Apes and Monkeys to their earliest appearance on the globe; but there have been some interesting recent discoveries, which lead us to hope that the field is not yet exhausted. The following is a summary of what is known as to the early forms of each family:- Simiidae.—Two or three species of this family have been found in the Upper Miocene deposits of France and Switzerland. Pliopithecus, of which a species has been found at each locality, was allied to the gibbons (Hylobates), and perhaps to Semnopithecus. A more remarkable form, named Dryopithecus, as large as a man, and having peculiarities of structure which are thought by Gervais and Lartet to indicate a nearer approach to the human form than any existing Ape, has been found in strata of the same age in France. Semnopithecidae.—Species of Semnopithecus have been found in the Upper Miocene of Greece, and others in the Siwalik Hills of N. W. India, also of Upper Miocene age. An allied form also occurs in the Miocene of Wurtemburg. Mesopithecus from Greece is somewhat intermediate between Semnopithecus and Macacus. Remains supposed to be of Semnopithecus, have also occurred in the Pliocene of Montpellier. - Cynopithecidae—Macacus has occurred in Pliocene deposits at Grays, Essex; and also in the South of France along with Cercopithecus. Cebidae.--In the caves of Brazil remains of the genera Cebus, Mycetes, Callithria, and Hapale, have been found; as well as an extinct form of larger size—Protopithecus. Lemuroidea.—A true lemur has recently been discovered in the Eocene of France; and it is supposed to be most nearly allied to the peculiar West African genera, Perodictious and Arctocebus. Caenopithecus, from the Swiss Jura, is supposed to have affinities both for the Lemuridae and the American Cebidae. In the lower Eocene of North America remains have been

« EelmineJätka »