Know Your Primate: Tremacebus harringtoni

Suborder: Anthropoidea
Infraorder: Platyrrhini
Subfamily: Aotinae
Genus: Tremacebus
Species: Tremacebus harringtoni
Tremacebus harringtoni is a species dating to the early Miocene or possibly the late Oligocene. It was found in Argentina.

T. harringtoni has a dental formula of (upper), a short, broad snout, vertical nuchal plane, broad interorbital distance, and intermediate sized, laterally directed, orbitals (larger than known diurnal species, but smaller than known nocturnal species). It also has a more posteriorly directed foramen magnum. One point of controversy concerning T. harringtoni relates to the amount of postorbital closure. It was originally thought that T. harringtoni had incomplete postorbital closure. Later research indicated that postmortem breaking was the cause of the incomplete closure. Some researchers have suggested that T. harringtoni is directly ancestral to either Aotus (the Owl Monkey) or Callicebus (the Titi Monkey). At any rate, here is another picture of the skull:
Both of these pictures came from DigiMorph – run by the University of Texas at Austin. DigiMorph also has an extensive bibliography on T. harringtoni (just click on the “Literature and Links” tab…

3 Responses

  1. Is anything known or even speculated about how it lived, or what sort of habitat it lived in? What sort of state were primates in at that point in time — I mean, had the dromopithecines diverged yet, or what?

  2. Based on orbital size and orientation it is probable that they were mainly active at twilight and based on the dental morphology they were probably folivorous. We don’t know that much more about them because we don’t have that much material. They are slightly later than the Fayum primates and provide, along with Branisella, and Dolichocebus, a snapshot of early South American platyrrhines. Branisella, for example, has some dental similarities to Aegyptopithecus zeuxis. They also provide some clues on the evolution of the tamarins and marmosets – but that is a story for another post…

  3. Thank you kindly — that gives me a slightly better idea of what Tremacebus was. And I should also have Googled it *slaps forehead*.

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