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Field Guides & Natural History  Mammals  Primates

Primates of the World An Illustrated Guide

Flora / Fauna
By: Jean-Jacques Petter(Author), François Desbordes(Illustrator), Robert Martin(Translated by)
186 pages, 72 plates with colour illustrations; 13 colour & 7 b/w illustrations, 86 colour distribution maps
Primates of the World
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  • Primates of the World ISBN: 9780691156958 Hardback Sep 2013 In stock
Price: £24.99
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About this book

This stunningly illustrated guide to the world's primates covers nearly 300 species, from the feather-light and solitary pygmy mouse lemurs of Madagascar – among the smallest primates known to exist – to the regal mountain gorillas of Africa. Organized by region and spanning every family of primates on Earth, Primates of the World features 72 splendid color plates, facing-page descriptions of key features of each family, and 86 color distribution maps.

Primates of the World also includes concise introductory chapters that discuss the latest findings on primate origins and evolution, behavior and adaptations, and classification, making it the most comprehensive and up-to-date primate guide available.


Fascinating Primates
The Beginning of an Adventure 1
In Search of Our Origins 4
The Precursors of Mammals 6
Evolution of Madagascar's Lemurs 9
The Role of the Forest and Primate Adaptation 15
Predators 22
Primate Territories and Social Organization 26
Primate Sociability and Recognition Signals 28
Classification of Primates 36
Primates by Continent: Plates and Descriptions of Species
Madagascar 48
South America 72
Asia 104
Africa 142
Bibliography 182
Index of Species 184

Customer Reviews


Jean-Jacques Petter (1927-2002) was a world authority on lemurs and one of France's leading primatologists. He was a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. François Desbordes is one of France's premier wildlife illustrators. Robert Martin is the A. Watson Armour III Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Flora / Fauna
By: Jean-Jacques Petter(Author), François Desbordes(Illustrator), Robert Martin(Translated by)
186 pages, 72 plates with colour illustrations; 13 colour & 7 b/w illustrations, 86 colour distribution maps
Media reviews

"I can think of no better introduction to the non-human primates than Jean-Jacques Petter's and François Desbordes' Primates of the World [...] The text is authoritative and readable and includes very good sections on the evolution of primates and the roles of environment and competition in influencing primate adaptations. There are also excellent chapters on territorial behavior, social organization, and sociality. The book is richly and beautifully illustrated by François Desbordes, and there are excellent life histories for each primate species. Primates of the World belongs on the shelf of anyone who wants to expand his or her understanding of human origins and of anyone who is captivated by the rich personal experiences, long-term detailed field observations, and passionate conservation messages of Diane Fossey and Jane Goodall."
– Wayne Mones, Perch/Audubon Magazine's Blog

"Primates of the World by Jean-Jacques Petter & François Desbordes is a beautifully illustrated guide that is perfect for those who are interested in primates and a great reference guide to use for primate classes."
– Raymond Ho, Prancing Papio

"This volume holds a treasure [...] Primates indeed contains 72 illustrated plates describing, by continent, the major primate species inhabiting our planet [...] [E]ach drawing, precise and magnificent, unveils their morphology, their colors, their postures [...] [A] splendid and fascinating book."
– Rafaële Brillaud, Science & Vie

"Those who love beautiful nature plates – in the tradition of Audubon and his birds – will be delighted by this landmark book [...] [D]azzling illustrated plates."
– Rachel Mulot, Sciences et Avenir

"A masterpiece. François Desbordes's 72 watercolor plates are pure marvels, in the great tradition of scientific pictures of the 19th century."
– Marc Giraud, L'Oiseau Magazinea

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