1902 Encyclopedia > Ape > Ape: Family II - Cebidae

Ape
(Part 8)


(B) Apes Classified by Family, Sub-Family and Genera (cont.)

Ape: Family II - Cebidae

In passing to the second family of apes -- the Cebidae, or apes of the New World -- we find them to form a very distinct and easily-defined group, and a little experience readily enables an observer to pronounce at a glance that a given ape belongs either to the Old or the New World, as the case may be.

The Cebidae are more thoroughly arboreal in their habits than are the Simiadae. Ranging over tropical America, they have their headquarters in the forests of Brazil, a region where most animal forms put on a more decidedly arboreal character. Accordingly, it is amongst the Cebidae that we met with, for the first time, a special arboreal organ -- namely, a prehensile tail. Such a tail has its free end curled, and capable of grasping with greater or less tenacity the objects about which it coils. Again, in the Cebidae, the septum between the nostrils is broad, instead of narrow, imparting to the physiognomy a markedly different character. In passing to these American apes we entirely lose cheek pouches and ischial callosities; while the thumb, even where best developed, is capable of but a very partial opposition to the other fingers, bending almost in the same plane with the latter, so as to be more like a fifth finger than a thumb. We also constantly find an additional premolar tooth on each side of each jaw, and that bony tube, the meatus auditorius externus, is wanting.

None of the Cebidae attain the bulk of the larger baboons, nor have any such prominent muzzles as have the latter.

The Cebidae are subdivisible into five sub-families: - 1. Cebinae, 2. Mycetinae; 3. Pitheciinae; 4. Nyctipithecinae; and, 5. Hapalinae.






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