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Everything you wanted to know about cercopithecoids and then some.

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American Journal of Primatology 55:65–68 (2001)
Everything You Wanted to Know About Cercopithecoids
and Then Some
Review of Old World Monkeys edited by Paul F. Whitehead and Clifford J. Jolly. Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 2000, xii + 528 p, 79 fig., 40 tab., $115.00.
An edited volume focusing on the entire superfamily of Old World monkeys is
an ambitious endeavor, especially in light of the fact that Cambridge University
Press has recently published four edited volumes on smaller taxonomic groupings
within this superfamily, one focusing on the subfamily Colobinae [Davies & Oates,
1994], one focusing on the tribe Cercopithecini [Gautier-Hion et al., 1988], and
two focusing on a single genus (Theropithecus [Jablonski, 1993] and Macaca [Fa
& Lindburg, 1996]). However, Old World Monkeys was conceived primarily as a
tribute to John and Prue Napier, the editors of the first volume of this title published three decades ago [Napier & Napier, 1970]. Old World Monkeys (2000) is
essentially a sequel to the original volume, containing a collection of works that
touch on several of the major areas of research on cercopithecoid monkeys that
have developed (and continued) since 1970.
The volume begins with an editorial review of the current state of knowledge
of cercopithecoid biology and how that is reflected in this volume. In this chapter,
the editors deftly link together each of the topics covered in the volume and offer
an excellent summary of the entire book. After this introductory chapter, however,
the book is not divided into topical sections, nor are there editorial links between
sections or chapters. Rather, the 18 remaining chapters fall into two general categories: 1) evolution, systematics, and morphology; and 2) endocrinology, behavior, and ecology.
Chapters 2 through 4 focus on cercopithecid evolution and systematics. In Chapter
2, Todd Disotell comprehensively reviews previous research on this topic, both morphological and molecular (focusing on the latter), and nicely summarizes the major
points of disagreement among those working on cercopithecid systematics. In Chapter 3, Jeff Rogers focuses specifically on the population genetics of baboons, including a review of various approaches to baboon genetics and a discussion of the current
state of knowledge thereof. In Chapter 4, Colin Groves, one of the contributors to
Napier and Napier [1970], presents a phylogenetic analysis of cercopithecids using
morphological traits, emphasizing the importance of the variability in these traits.
Following these more general, introductory chapters are several chapters
linked by their focus on morphology. In Chapter 5, Wolfgang Maier examines the
development of cercopithecid nasal capsule morphology compared to that of other
anthropoids. In Chapter 6, Brenda Benefit addresses the Victoriapithecidae, the
sister taxon to the living Cercopithecidae (and the earliest and most primitive
Old World monkeys). In her analysis, she persuasively argues that cercopithecines,
because they are similar craniodentally to victoriapithecids, are more primitive
than colobines; that bilophodonty in cercopithecoids evolved in relation to hardobject feeding (hard fruits and seeds) rather than folivory; and that victori-
© 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
66 / Media Review
apithecids were semiterrestrial to a degree similar to that of vervet monkeys. In
Chapter 7, Gundling and Hill provide a comprehensive review of all cercopithecoid
fossils from East Africa. In Chapter 8, Karen Hiiemae examines the orofacial
complex in macaques and relates it to feeding behavior and the capacity for speech
in humans. Finally, in Chapter 9, Ravosa and Profant present and discuss functional and ontogenetic analyses of cercopithecoid craniofacial morphology.
The second general division of the book covers endocrinology, behavior, and
ecology. In Chapter 10, Pat Whitten reviews hormone-behavior interactions in
cercopithecids, such as those relating to aggression, stress responses, and temperament, and proposes the relationship between such mechanisms and the evolution of cercopithecid social organization to be a fruitful area for future research.
(There is a printing error in this chapter in that the bars in Fig. 10.2 are transposed, but the actual relationship among the data is clarified in the text.) In Chapter 11, Fred Bercovitch reviews and discusses several aspects of cercopithecine
socioendocrinology, focusing on the interactions between physiology, feeding ecology, behavior (especially dominance rank), and reproductive maturation. In Chapter 12, Phillips-Conroy, Bergman, and Jolly report variability in dental wear (across
age, sex, and study sites) and its application to age estimation in two populations
of East African baboons. In Chapter 13, Lynn Fairbanks reviews evidence for maternal investment throughout the lifespan of cercopithecid monkeys, especially
female cercopithecines (who are generally characterized by female philopatry and
from whom we have the most data). In Chapter 14, Irwin Bernstein, one of the
contributors to Napier and Napier [1970], critically examines “evidence” for cognitive capacities of cercopithecids, wisely cautioning against simplistic sociobiological explanations and the confusion of proximate and ultimate explanations for
behavioral patterns. In Chapter 15, Tom Struhsaker, also one of the contributors
to the original volume, reviews the effects of predator pressure and habitat quality on polyspecific associations, group size, and adult sex ratio in African
cercopithecids. In Chapter 16, Oates, Bocian, and Terranova follow up on
Struhsaker’s contribution to Napier and Napier [1970] by reanalyzing male loud
calls of black-and-white colobus monkeys with new methods and additional data
to provide new insight into both Colobus phylogeny and the evolution and function of loud calls in this genus. These results are especially important because, as
Disotell points out in Chapter 2, Colobus phylogeny has not been well studied
from either a morphological or molecular perspective. In Chapter 17, Marina Cords
fills a gap in our knowledge of cercopithecin (as opposed to papionin) behavior by
discussing agonistic and affiliative social relationships among female blue monkeys in Kenya, pointing out the oft-ignored differences between cercopithecins
and papionins with regard to both their rate of agonistic interaction (low in
cercopithecins) and the importance of dominance rank to their social organization
(minimal in cercopithecins). In Chapter 18, Gebo and Chapman summarize three
of their recent papers on the positional behavior of five sympatric forest-living
cercopithecid monkeys in Uganda, focusing on the effects of habitat, seasonality,
predator pressure, and body size on variation in locomotor behavior. Finally, in
Chapter 19, Yeager and Kool briefly review the social organization and behavioral
ecology of Asian colobines and discuss the relationship between food supply, food
competition, and colobine social organization, particularly territoriality.
As Jolly and Whitehead point out in their introductory chapter, several current approaches to cercopithecoid biology and behavior represented in this volume barely existed 30 years ago. These include: 1) the integration of field and
laboratory research to investigate the relationship between physiology and behavior under natural conditions (Whitten, Bercovitch, and Phillips-Conroy et al.);
Media Review / 67
2) the shift to sociobiology and individual selection as theoretical frameworks for
the interpretation of primate behavior (Fairbanks, Bernstein, and Cords); and 3)
the possibility of comparative analyses of populations across both space and time
due to the accumulation of field data across many sites and/or multiple decades
(Struhsaker, Phillips-Conroy et al., Oates et al., and Yeager and Kool).
A single volume on cercopithecoid systematics, morphology, genetics, behavior, and ecology cannot even approach comprehensive coverage of this superfamily. The unevenness of the volume, therefore, is inevitable. The book could have
been strengthened, however, by more consistency among chapters with regard to
both chapter format (which varies widely) and taxonomic breadth (some chapters review cercopithecids as a whole, whereas others are more taxonomically
focused research papers). Also, for an edited volume that focuses on a taxonomic
grouping rather than a topic, there is little internal taxonomic consistency. For
example, it is unfortunate that Groves raises all taxonomic ranks one level above
those used traditionally and throughout the rest of the volume. For instance,
taxa that are traditionally considered to be subfamilies (e.g., Colobinae) are instead recognized as families (e.g., Colobidae), tribes are recognized as subfamilies, etc. Also, with regard to Papio, some contributors consider all baboons to be
subspecies of hamadryas (e.g., Papio hamadryas anubis and Papio hamadryas
hamadryas); others use a subspecies designation to the exclusion of hamadryas
(e.g., Papio cynocephalus anubis and Papio hamadryas), and still others consider
them to be separate species (e.g., Papio anubis and Papio hamadryas). The debate regarding baboon taxonomy is addressed in Chapters 2 and 3 by Disotell
and Rogers (as well as the editors), who both designate all baboons as subspecies
of Papio hamadryas (as has been argued to be most appropriate by Jolly [1993]).
Few of the book’s other contributors, however, appear to be aware of this. Finally, the chapter sequence itself may seem confusing to some, as review papers
are intermingled with research papers; a chapter on baboon population genetics
is sandwiched between two chapters on cercopithecid systematics; a chapter on
dental wear is placed among the behavior chapters rather than the morphology
chapters; and controversial phylogenetic hypotheses proposed by Groves are addressed and rejected by Disotell in an earlier chapter.
The above weaknesses do not, however, detract from the value of this book.
As was the case with the first volume in 1970, Old World Monkeys (2000) combines in one volume numerous excellent reviews of the current state of knowledge of cercopithecoid evolution, systematics, morphology, behavior, and ecology,
and some of the contributions to this volume will likely become classics. At $115,
the book will be prohibitively expensive for some, but it should nonetheless be on
the shelf of anyone whose research focuses on cercopithecoids.
Larissa Swedell
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP)
Department of Anthropology
Queens College, City University of New York
Flushing, NY 11367
Eric J. Sargis
Department of Anthropology
Yale University
P.O. Box 208277
New Haven, CT 06520
68 / Media Review
Davies AG, Oates JF. 1994. Colobine monkeys: their ecology, behaviour and evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Fa JE, Lindburg DG. 1996. Evolution and
ecology of macaque societies. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Gautier-Hion A, Bourlière F, Gautier J-P,
Kingdon J. 1988. A primate radiation: evolutionary biology of the African guenons.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jablonski NG. 1993. Theropithecus: the rise
and fall of a primate genus. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Jolly CJ. 1993. Species, subspecies, and baboon systematics. In: Kimbel WH, Martin
LB, editors. Species, species concepts, and
primate evolution. New York: Plenum
Press. p 67–107.
Napier JR, Napier PH. 1970. Old World
monkeys: evolution, systematics, and behavior. New York: Academic Press.
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