A symposium honoring Richard Kay- New views on primate adaptation and Evolution. AmericanAssociation of Physical Anthropologists.
Over the last 45 years, Richard Kay has made enormous intellectual and practical contributions to the field of biological anthropology. His research program has focused on a diverse array of subjects and methods, and has profoundly influenced the work of many researchers around the world. Most notably, Kay’s early work on dental functional anatomy established the fundamental adaptive relationship between diet and tooth form that continues to serve as the foundation for our understanding of dental evolution and diversity. He subsequently made and continues to make substantive contributions to our understanding of anthropoid origins and platyrrhine evolution. Kay has been at the forefront of developing quantitative methods to reconstruct the diets of extinct primates and has played a key role in the transition to our current apomorphy-based understanding of fossil primate phylogeny. In the course of his paleontological research, Kay has discovered and described numerous extinct primate species, and has sought to understand platyrrhine evolution within the larger context of South American paleoenvironments and ancient faunal communities. These diverse research activities are the product of a scientific career informed by two key questions: (1) What can be inferred about the paleobiology and evolutionary relationships of fossil species using experimental and comparative methods?, and (2) What new technologies and methods can be brought to bear in order to help improve our understanding of primate adaptations and evolution? All of the symposium participants conduct research that is inspired by these same two questions. In this symposium we honor Kay's extraordinary impact on our field through an exploration of research building upon his body of work.