New World Monkeys brings to life the beauty of evolution and biodiversity in action among South and Central American primates, who are now at risk. These tree-dwelling rainforest inhabitants display an unparalleled variety in size, shape, hands, feet, tails, brains, locomotion, feeding, social systems, forms of communication, and mating strategies. Primatologist Alfred Rosenberger, one of the foremost experts on these mammals, explains their fascinating adaptations and how they came about.
New World Monkeys provides a dramatic picture of the sixteen living genera of New World monkeys and a fossil record that shows that their ancestors have lived in the same ecological niches for up to 20 million years – only to now find themselves imperiled by the extinction crisis. Rosenberger also challenges the argument that these primates originally came to South America from Africa by floating across the Atlantic on a raft of vegetation some 45 million years ago. He explains that they are more likely to have crossed via a landbridge that once connected Western Europe and Canada at a time when many tropical mammals transferred between the northern continents.
Based on the most current findings, New World Monkeys offers the first synthesis of decades of fieldwork and laboratory and museum research conducted by hundreds of scientists.
Alfred L. Rosenberger is professor emeritus of Anthropology and Archaeology at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. His work has been published in Nature and in many other scientific journals and books.
"New World Monkeys is a comprehensive state-of-the-science account of the adaptations and evolutionary history of a major group of primates, written by a well-respected, innovative scientist. It will be a very valuable resource for biological anthropologists, primate ecologists, primate evolutionary biologists, and their graduate students."
– Marilyn A. Norconk, Kent State University
"Alfred Rosenberger is a consummate integrative biologist who deftly assimilates morphological, ecological, and behavioral information to understand the whole organism. Combining his synthetic approach and lifelong passion for unfolding the long history of New World monkeys, this gorgeous book reminds the reader that evolutionary puzzles and anatomical questions are best answered via observation of the animal itself, fossilized or living. I recommend it to anyone who is curious about the life around us."
– Joanna E. Lambert, University of Colorado Boulder
"A masterful overview of the New World primates and the adaptations of their long-evolving ancestors. Alfred Rosenberger gives us the big picture – truly fascinating insights into the commonalities and differences that were molded by diverse adaptive zones in the forests of Central and South America."
– Anthony B. Rylands, Global Wildlife Conservation
“This is a very readable, copiously illustrated book on the primates of Central and South America by a world authority. Alfred Rosenberger discusses taxonomy, evolution, behavior, anatomy, paleontology, and conservation, and often enriches the discussions with highlights from his own experiences, as well as short introductions to other scientists."
– John G. Fleagle, author of Primate Adaptation and Evolution
"Alfred Rosenberger is the world's leading authority on the evolutionary history of the New World primates, a fascinating group of monkeys very different from their Old World counterparts. In this amazing synthesis of knowledge, Rosenberger shares his lifetime of experience on the subject. Particularly interesting and enlightening is the chapter on the fossils, which is his greatest contribution to our understanding of this diverse radiation of primates."
– Russell A. Mittermeier, Global Wildlife Conservation