Evolution In Spider Monkeys

There are many theories revolving around the evolution in Spider monkeys. According to one theory, the spider monkeys are believed to be closely related to the woolly spider monkeys. They are believed to have split from the woolly monkeys in the South American lowland forest, and evolved their unique locomotory system. However, this theory on evolution of Spider monkey is not propped up by fossil evidence. But fossils of spider monkeys living in Cuba in recent times have been found.

The other theories on evolution in Spidermonkey include Brachyteles, Lagothrix and Ateles in a non-resolved trichotomy. The two clades are composed of Ateles and Lagothrix in one group and Alouatta and Brachyteles in the other. Recent evidences have led the scientists to believe Atelinae split in the middle to late Miocene, thus separating spider monkeys from the woolly spider monkeys and the woolly monkeys, in the spider monkey evolution.

The new world monkeys of South and Central America today consist of 17 genera and over 70 species of Platyrrhines. Recent times have seen more info regarding the evolutionary history of spider monkeys.

Moving on with details about the evolution in Spidermonkey, on the basis of age and geography, as per the fossil records, there are four main groups whcih conform the Platyrrhines. These are the Oligocene locality in Bolivia; some genera Miocene of Southern Argentina and Chile; a group from the late Miocene from Colombia; and a group from the Pleistocene in the Caribbean and Brazil. Some fossil primates were also discovered in Cuba, such as the “Montanea anthropomorphus”, which are believed to be the ancestor of the spider monkey, perhaps brought to the island by local people.

One trait that characterizes the New World Monkeys from the Old World Monkeys is the presence of a prehensile tail, which is having a patch of skin at the tip, thus helping the animal to use it like a fifth hand, for gripping and picking up objects. The presence of a central eye area is another important feature of this group and distinguishes the spider monkeys from the lemurs.

Some of the traits which these spider monkeys share with their ancestors are a shortened snout and forward facing eye, which reflects an increased dependence on vision. The assortment of teeth types allows these primates to have a diverse diet. They also have two separate bones in the limbs which enable them to have more precise movements. Having longer periods of infancy and childhood, gives them more time for learning and brain growth. Thus the long and interesting path of evolution in Spider monkey has been quite interesting and is still going on.