Ontogeny, auditory structures, and primate evolution



The anatomy of the auditory region, particularly the carotid circulatory patterns and ectotympanic-petrosal relationships, has played a prominent role in primate systematics and phylogenetic reconstructions. Ontogenetic stages of petrosal-ectotympanic relationship are presented for certain strepsirhines. It is suggested that the “ectotympanic tube” or “ossified annulus membrane” found in early Tertiary primates is not necessarily an homologous structure to the true ectotympanic tube seen in haplorhines, and thus cannot be considered a shared, derived feature linking known Paleogene primates from Europe or North America to tarsioid and/or anthropoid ancestry. No fossil primate yet discovered makes a convincing ancestor for the earliest known anthropoids from the Oligocene of Africa. This is probably due to the fact that it still lies undiscovered in the Paleogene of Africa.