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Biology of tarsiers. Edited by C. Niemitz. New York Gustav Fischer. 1984. Distributed by Verlag Chemie International Deerfield Beach Florida. ix + 357 pp. figures table index. $57

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 68557-566 (1985)
Book Reviews
BIOLOGY
OF TARSIERS.
Edited by C. Niemitz.
New York: Gustav Fischer. 1984. Distributed by Verlag Chemie International, Deerfield Beach, Florida. ix + 357 pp., figures,
table, index. $57.80 (cloth).
Biology of Tarsiers is a source of some wonderfully interesting information on all sorts
of aspects of the tarsier-from its taxonomic
history to its brown body fat, eyes, brain,
snout, diet, locomotion, and activity rhythms.
It is also somewhat of a tribute to Niemitz
himself, who contributed to nine of the 18
chapters, six as single author. As such, there
is a n unusual continuity and comparability
from one chapter to the next, but there is
also much more minutiae in a noncomparative context than one, or a t least I, would
like. This latter element makes even more
tedious reading page after page of data on,
for example, intestinal parasites or everything one might ever want to know about the
leaping, use of substrates, coming to the
ground, length of sleeping periods, and so
forth, of the Bornean species of tarsier, Tarsius bancanus. There is a wealth of data but
in the absence of much comparable comparative data, even from the study of other species of Tarsius, one has to be extremely
interested in T bancanus (or have to write a
review of the volume) to sift through the
descriptions, lists, charts, and so on.
Although the general message from the
collection as a whole is that Tarsius is a very
specialized and unique primate, whose very
uniquenesses make it even the more phylogenetically puzzling, there are indications of
the closer affinity of Tarsius with prosimians
than with anthropoids. The scapula of Tarsius is long and typical of a terrestrial animal, with the scapulohumeral and scapular
indices indicating quadrupedal locomotion
(M. Schultz), but we know that the animal is
a vertical-body leaper and largely nonterrestrial. Tarsius has the relatively longest hand
of all primates (Schultz) and the relatively
longest foot (F.-K. Jouffroy et all. The enigmatic tarsier has a long third finger, as in
anthropoid primates, but a long fourth pedal
digit (and “prepollex” [Schultz]), as in lemurs and lorises. Its limb proportions (e.g.,
extremely long fore and hind limb in relation
to the spine) are unique among primates, as
is the shortness of its cuboid and the orientation of its trochlear facet, which does not
allow for lateral deviation of the foot (Shultz).
(c>1985 ALAN
R. LISS, INC
In other uniquenesses of the foot, however,
Tarsius is most like galagines (Shultz).
Much of the to-do about Tarsius revolves
around the structure of its nasal region,
which is “platyrrhine” (=broad internarium), but this condition also characterizes
many other mammals (Starck). And, although Tarsius has a fused upper lip covered
with hair, as in anthropoid primates (and
other mammals), its nostrils are not also
aborally rounded or haplorhine, but slitlike
or strepsirhine, and there is a small hairless
area at the medial border of each nostril that
is continuous with the hairless skin of the
inside of the nostril (Klauer). A rhinarium is
lacking, as one is in anthropoids, but the
distribution of sebaceous and apocrine glands
around the mouth (the “circum-oral organ”),
bearing hairs that interdigitate between upper and lower lip, and the development of
distinct labial papillae internally that are
spaced to cover the gaps between neighboring teeth, make the tarsier a most unusual
primate indeed (Klauer).
The enormous orbits of Tarsius impinge
greatly on the organs of the head (Starck),
which is perhaps why the frontal lobe is small
relative to the temporal and occipital lobes
(Stephan). (Interestingly, the rostra1 excavation of a tarsier’s brain, with long and thin
olfactory nerves, parallels that of birds. And,
speaking of birds, Niemitz suggest that Tarsius also has species-specific vocal repertoires.) Similar to other small primates (e.g.,
Galago demidouii), the surface of a tarsier’s
brain is rather smooth, but the deep, triradiate sulci on the inner face of the occipital
lobe are as seen in other prosimians, from
which the tarsier differs, however, in the
marked occipital extension of its cerebral
hemispheres, which is otherwise characteristic of marmosets. As in some cheirogaleids,
the tarsier’s olfactory bulbs project beyond
the frontal poles and, as in most other prosimians, its olfactory peduncle is short and
broad. In short, the brain of Tarsius is most
like that of other prosimians but, when it
deviates from the brains of prosimians, it is
also typically divergent from the brains of
anthropoids (Stephan).
The eye of Tarsius is distinctive in its large
size, protruding more than halfway beyond
the margin of the shallow bony orbit, and in
its relative immobility, which forces rotation
of the head (up to 180”)for visual adjustment
(Castenholz). In contrast to anthropoids,
558
BOOK REVIEWS
which have a central area and a well-developed retinal fovea with both rods and cones,
Tarsius has a central area with a variably
poorly developed fovea in a pure rod retina,
as seen a t least in Galago senegalensis and
G. crassicaudatus.
Brown body fat, the “interscapular hibernating gland” of various mammals, is a thermoregulatory tissue (Niemitz, Klauer, and
Eins). Its presence in Tarsius is consistent
with the animal’s circadian rhythm of body
temperature, which drops at night, creating
the state of torpor noted in animals artificially awakened (Niemitz). The lower nighttime body temperature makes sense in terms
of the tarsier’s exclusive insectivory, which
makes for a periless energy balance, which,
in turn, is probably why Tarsius has only
one offspring a year, and it is probably also
the reason the sleeping animal is undetected
by snakes (ibid.).
Space does not permit me to review every
chapter, but I should say that no chapter is
ENERGY
INTAKEAND ACTIVITY.
Edited by E.
Pollitt and P. Amante. New York: Alan R.
Liss. 1984. xiii + 418 pp., figures, tables,
references, index. $58.00 (cloth).
out of place or below standard. There is, however, a n overabundance of typos and other
errors, and the type and format make reading a bit difficult. Since the volume was published in English, someone should have
edited it to read more smoothly, instead of as
a bad translation. But, even with these comments, I would still have recommended
wholeheartedly the volume were it not for
the frontispiece illustration, which depicts a
tarsier in the arms of a young woman. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that it
is sexist and tasteless and certainly unbecoming of a n academic publication.
JEFFREY
H. SCHWARTZ
Department of Anthropology
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Institutes of Nutrition; and academic disciplines in both the biological and social sciences-anthropology, nutrition, psychology,
physiology, pediatrics, public health, child
and family development, and economics.
“Either our concepts and understanding
The volume, number 11in the Current Top
are wrong or the data are wrong.” This quote, ics in Nutrition and Disease series, is orgataken from Beaton’s commentary in the last nized into conceptual, methodological, field
chapter of Energy Intake and Activity, sets study, and consequences sections. There is
forth one of the principal issues addressed in some overlapping and duplication in the
this volume. That issue is how to reconcile chapters but the different disciplinary perdietary intake and energy expenditure mea- spectives of the contributors come through
surements that seem to suggest that some more clearly than the repetition.
populations are barely meeting resting metThe first three chapters question the validabolic requirements yet their members are ity of current views concerning energy balworking, getting pregnant, bearing off- ance in populations. Prentice, basing his
spring, and nursing these offspring rela- discussion on a study of pregnant and lactattively successfully.
ing, affluent women in Great Britain and
This and other issues relating to physical women in similar physiologic conditions but
activity and energy balance were the focus of poor and rural in The Gambia, is struck by
a workshop organized by the International the apparent low levels of dietary intake of
Union of Nutritional Sciences’ Committee the latter. In spite of this the Gambian
111/2 on Nutrition and Behavior. Thirty-one women maintain reasonable pregnancy and
participants attended the workshop in May lactation outcomes plus apparently high lev1983. These participants represented nine els of physical activity. Prentice specifically
different nations; international organiza- argues that errors of measurement cannot
tions such as the World Bank and the Pan account for the paradox and he concludes
American Health Organization; six national that natural selection has led to a n evolu-
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