Phylogenetic influences on hormone levels across the primate order



Adrenal and gonadal hormone levels were evaluated in representative species from Prosimii, Ceboidea, Cercopithecoidea, and Hominoidea to determine if endocrine activity was influenced by phylogenetic factors. Most small-bodied New World primates had extremely high levels of cortisol, progesterone, and testosterone when compared with Old World primates. In contrast to the high hormone levels and diversity found in Ceboidea, Old World primates showed a more similar pattern of hormone secretion. Thus, this survey supports earlier reports indicating that the callitricids and smaller cebid monkeys have a distinctive hormone profile. Although higher hormone levels tended to be associated with lower body weight, this effect was not evident in all taxa, and there were many notable exceptions. When species differ from their predicted hormone levels based on phylogenetic heritage and body weight (e.g., titi monkeys), we must look for other biological factors that influence endocrine activity. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.