Bournemouth University

School of Conservation Sciences

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New online database for primate morphological and spatial data

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Vervet The database contains primate data  

A new online database which focuses on primate morphological and spatial data is now available at the Archaeology Data ServiceExternal Link (or ADS; available through the library databases).

This database is a subset of a larger dataset which has been compiled for the research project “Cercopithecine models as a contextual framework for human evolution” (funded by the Leverhulme Trust 2003-2006) by Dr Russell Hill, Dr Sarah Elton, Prof Robin Dunbar, Dr Andrea Cardini, Anna-Ulla Jansson, Erik Willems and our own Dr Amanda Korstjens.

A major aim of this project was to compile a database of variation in modern African cercopithecine monkeys (baboons, mangabeys and guenons) to facilitate the construction of morphological and behavioural models for human evolution. Reconstruction of the evolutionary histories and palaeobiologies of extinct humans (hominins) requires comparative data from modern species, often primates. Although chimpanzees and gorillas are frequently used, Old World monkeys (particularly the cercopithecines) are also appropriate comparators (see Elton, 2006). One key element of our study was to examine the intra and interspecific variation of African monkeys in relation to environmental and spatial factors. Understanding how modern primates vary in response to their environments might help to interpret the variation seen in the hominin fossil record.

The full database, which is intended to be made fully accessible by 2009, includes behavioural, morphological, spatial and environmental data for most African cercopithecine species, as well as some Asian species and colobines. The dataset available here represents the first stage of our work, comprising a subset of morphological and spatial data from one cercopithecine tribe, the Cercopithecini (guenons).

For more information on this project see:

Korstjens, AH, & RIM Dunbar (2007). Time constraints limit group sizes and distribution in red and black-and-white colobus monkeys. Int. J. PrimatolExternal Link. 28: 551-575
Korstjens, AH, IL Verhoeckx, & RIM Dunbar (2006). Time as a constraint on group size in spider monkeys. Behav Ecol SociobiolExternal Link. 60:683-69
Lehmann, J, AH Korstjens, & RIM Dunbar (forthcoming 2007). Group size, grooming and social cohesion in primates. Anim Behav
Lehmann, J, AH Korstjens, & RIM Dunbar (2007). Fission-fusion social systems as a strategy for coping with ecological constraints: a primate case. Evol EcolExternal Link. 21: 613-634.
Cardini, A., Jansson, A-U & Elton, S. (2007). A geometric morphometric approach to the study of ecogeographic and clinal variation in vervet monkeys. Journal of Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01731.x
For more information on this project see:Elton, S. (2006) 40 years on and still going strong: the use of the hominin-cercopithecid comparison in human evolution. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12:19-38

Archaeology Data Service