Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Ateles É. Geoffroy, 1806

Ceboid genus to which the spider monkeys belong. Most authorities recognize four allopatric species; some workers think that there is only one species with 16 subspecies. Found in Central and South America where it prefers evergreen tropical rain forest. Ranges in body mass from 6 to 14 kg; nonsexually dimorphic to the extent that the female has an elongated clitoris that is sometimes mistaken for a penis. Arboreal; possesses prehensile tail; diurnal; capable of a variety of locomotor patterns: arboreal quadrupedalism, semibrachiation, climbing, and bipedalism; thumb reduced to tubercle. Dental formula: 2.1.3.3; frugivorous, but in some seasons switch to heavy leaf diet. Mixed-sex social organization; troops that fission into smaller foraging units and fuse back into the larger troop.

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