Systematics and body size: Implications for feeding adaptations in new world monkeys



The relationship between body size and feeding ecology is well established for primates. It is argued that the evolutionary history of modern New World monkeys and, in particular, the path to attainment of current body size is significant in understanding the similarities and differences between dietary strategies and other ecological parameters of similar-sized monkeys. Current interpretations of New World monkey evolutionary relationships are reviewed. Based on a synthesis of available body weights and the assumption that the earliest New World monkeys weighed close to 1 kg, similar to modern Aotus and Callicebus, predicted patterns of body size change in each lineage are given. Restrictions on directions of body size change in primates are discussed, and it is shown that “Stanley's Rule” offers a good explanation for differing body size ranges in New and Old World anthropoids. Predicted ecological correlates to body size drawn from the mammalian literature are offered and tested using data on New World monkeys, which show some concurrence and several interesting departures from predicted patterns. Sexual dimorphism in body weight of New World monkey species is reviewed, based on the new summary of body weight data given. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.