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Comparative biology and evolutionary relationships of tree shrews. Edited by W. P. Luckett. New York Plenum Press. 1980. xv + 314 pp. figures tables references index. $39

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 59:467-473(1982)
Book Reviews
COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY
AND EVOLUTIONARY
this volume agree upon is that the tree shrews
RELATIONSHIPS
OF TREE SHREWS.Edited
are quite structurally distinct and share few
by W. P. Luckett. New York: Plenum Press. if any derived characters (characters altered
1980. xv + 314 pp., figures, tables, refer- from the ancestral form) with primates, or the
ences, index. $39.50 (cloth).
various other insectivores. Novacek, Butler,
Cartmill, and MacPhee and Luckett all
As long as tree shrews have been known by reached this same conclusion, and because of
western biologists they have proven difficult the lack of shared derived features supported
to classify. At the level of the order they have the classification of the tree shrews within
been aligned with the Insectivora, Meno- their own order. Additionally, all authors aptyphla, Primates or classified within their own parently agree on adopting the name Scanorder called either the Tupaioidea or the Scan- dentia for the order, rather than Tupoidea
dentia. It has been their association with the which has priority. Luckett, in his introducprimates, however, which has brought them tory chapter, states this support for the more
to the attention of anthropologists. The edi- recent name is justified to avoid ambiguity
tor’s stated purpose for the present volume with the superfamilial and ordinal names Tuhad been to evaluate this controversial evo- paioidea.
lutionary and taxonomic relationship of the
While the authors seemed to agree on the
tree shrew to the primates and other euther- ordinal status of the tree shrews, there was
ian mammals. In particular, it has been the much less agreement among them on the vagoal of the authors and the editor to deter- lidity of the superorder Archonta, and the
mine if the tree shrews should be classified allocation of the tree shrews and the primates
within the order Primates, and if the tree to this taxon. The superorder Archonta was
shrews, along with the dermopterans and pri- established to recognize the possible phylomates should be classified within a superor- genetic relationships of the primates, the tree
der Archonta.
shrews and the dermopterans, and possibly
To achieve these proposed goals, 15 authors the bats and elephant shrews. While the conhave contributed a total of 10 chapters deal- cept that these taxa have shared a more
ing with various aspects of the questions. Top- recent common ancestor with each other
ically, the volume is divided into an than with other eutherians almost dates
introductory chapter discussing the princi- back to the turn of the century, it has only
ples of the taxonomy and the pitfalls of clas- been within the past 10 to 15 years that there
sifying the treeshrews, a section consisting of has been renewed interest in the hypothesis.
five chapters on the cranioskeletal system and In the present volume under review, Szalay
the dentition, sections on the nervous system, and Drawhorn’s contribution deals directly
reproductive system, and a final section con- with this issue, and these authors provide the
sisting of two chapters on the molecular evi- staunchest support for the concept. Their
dence of tree shrew relationships.
support is based upon their detailed analysis
I have enjoyed this volume and found it of the tarsals, particularly the calcaneum and
very informative. Luckett’s introductory talus, of living and fossil “archontons.” Addichapter does an excellent job of providing the tional support for the concept is provided in
reader with the theoretical framework of phy- the volume by Dene, Goodman, Prychodko,
logenetic taxonomy so that the questions and Matsuda in their chapter on the molecuraised in the following chapters, and the ap- lar evidence for the affinities of the tree
proach used to answer these questions, are shrews. Novacek, however, in his examinaunderstandable. I particularly felt that Luck- tion of the skeletal system of the tree shrews
ett’s discussion of the principles of phyloge- does not support Szalay and Drawhorn’s
netic reconstruction was clearly written and interpretation of the tarsal, and provides the
amply illustrated.
most outspoken statement against the conIn examining the structural and taxonomic cept. Additionally, Cartmill and MacPhee in
relationships of the tree shrews, the one con- their examination of the carotid arteries and
clusion which all the authors represented in cranial skeleton, and Luckett in his examina-
0002-948318215904-0467502.50 @I 1982 ALAN R. LISS, INC.
468
BOOK REVIEWS
tion of the reproductive system of tree shrew,
found no evidence of structures which support the Archonta hypothesis.
For any anthropologist interested in t h e
classification of t h e primates, particularly t h e
question of what should be included within
the order and what should not, this volume is
a must. I also feel that this research on t h e
tree shrews and the publication of t h e re-
search in a lucid volume, will now serve as a
model for future studies on the other small
insectivorous mammals whose ordinal classification has proven j u s t as controversial.
THE PRIMATES
OF MADAGASCAR.
By I. Tattersall. New York: Columbia University Press.
1982. xiv + 382 pp., figures, tables, references,
index. $40.00 (cloth).
gasy subfossil Megaladapis. Daubentoniu and
the rest of the Malagasy subfossils would then
have branched off from modern Indriids sometime after the Lepilemur group and Hupalemur
GOUP.
Tattersall argues “If Adapis were to be found
in the Eocene of Madagascar it is improbable
that most scholars would object to the linking of
this form among the living lemur genera; similarly, if Adupis survived in Europe today it is
likely that this species would be fitted in to a
taxonomic framework that embraces the extant
lemurs, and that elaborate scenarios would be
devised to explain its geographical remoteness
from its relatives. The isolation of the lemurs in
both time and space, however, seems to have
been too much ...((But)) there is no demonstrable
and consistent link between geographical distribution and the phylogenetic (as opposed to adaptive) history of taxa.”
Tattersall’s views demand, among other
things, that we believe the toothcomb was primitive to the Strepsirhini and independently lost
in both Notharctus and Adapis. He sets this
parallelism against the even more striking resemblances between the molars of the two fossils and Lepilemur and Hupalmur respectively.
“If the cladistic approach to phylogenetic reconstruction has shown anything, it is how rampant
a phenomenon parallelism is in nature ...q uite
plainly this is a phenomenon we must accept
more frequently than we might like.”
Leave aside the anatomical disputes for the
moment. (There will be plenty.) What does this
phylogeny imply for the geographic origin of
lemurs? Both the speculative Adapid affinities
and the more firmly based cheirogaleid-lorisid
link imply that much of the differentiation of
lemurs took place in Africa, before the isolation
of Madagascar. Tattersall suggests that in the
early Eocene African mammals were limited to
Ian Tattersall has written a lucid, literate, and
thought-provoking book. He surveys both living
and subfossil Malagasy primates, chiefly emphasizing anatomy, but with a summary of most
known facts on behavior, ecology, and biochemical taxonomy. This is far more than a handbook,
though. Tattersall’s phylogeny will surprise and
even annoy other experts. He presents it as the
most probable evolutionary tree which can be
deduced from comparative anatomy. He confronts the fact the resulting cladograms would
revise our views of the faunas of Madagascar
and Africa before their definitive split. Although
he cautiously repeats that his ideas are tentative, and may well be changed, he raises the
challenge that other versions of strepsirhine descent pose just as many problems of parallel
evolution as his own.
In brief, Tattersall proposes first that the cheirogaleids, the small nocturnal group of Malagasy
primates, are more closely related to African
lorisines and galagines than they are to other
Malagasy lemurs. Martin and Charles-Dominique have stressed the similarities between
these taxa, but attributed them to the retention
of primitive primate characteristics, as well as a
set of primitive ecological niches. Tattersall
takes the data further to say that animals which
are so similar are probably a single phylogenetic
group.
The next major split would divide Lemur and
Vureciu from all the rest. The real challenge
follows. Tattersall groups modern Lepilemur
with the North American Eocene Notharctus.
He groups modern Hapalemur with the European Eocene Adapis as well as the huge Mala-
D. GENTRYSTEELE
Texas A & M University
College Station, Texas
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figuren, luckett, references, index, shrew, 1980, relationships, new, york, 314, evolutionary, edited, comparative, tablet, biologya, tree, pres, plenum
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