Morphological correlates of the grooming claw in distal phalanges of platyrrhines and other primates: a preliminary study.
Grooming claws are present on the second pedal digits of strepsirhines and on the second and third pedal digits of tarsiers. However, their presence in New World monkeys is often overlooked. As such, the absence of a grooming claw is generally considered an anthropoid synapomorphy. This study utilizes a quantitative multivariate analysis to define grooming claw morphology and document its presence in platyrrhine monkeys. Our results show that owl monkeys possess grooming claws similar to those of strepsirhines, while titi monkeys possess grooming claw-like morphology. Therefore, we conclude that anthropoids are not clearly united by the absence of a grooming claw. Furthermore, due to their presence in three major primate clades, we infer that it is likely that a grooming claw was present on the second pedal digit of the ancestor of living primates. Therefore, we advise the reassessment of fossil adapids in light of the anatomical correlates described here. This should increase resolution on the homology and polarity of grooming claw morphology, and, therefore, will help provide a sharper picture of primate evolution.
Maiolino, S; Boyer, DM; Rosenberger, A
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