Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Proconsulidae

Family of hominoids belonging to the infraorder Catarrhini known from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of Africa and the Far East; approximately ten genera and fifteen species. Great diversity resulting from a spectacular adaptive radiation that appears to have been centered in eastern Africa; the members of this family occupied diverse habitats ranging from tropical rain forest to open woodlands. Body size ranged from small species of 3.5 kg to large species weighing 50 kg or more. Dental formula: 2.1.3.3; large sexually dimorphic canines that were honed by anterior sectorial premolars; family included both frugivorous and folivorous members. Postcranial remains suggest a great diversity in locomotion. It is unknown what the phylogenetic relationship of the proconsulids is to any of the living apes; some features, such as the extreme development of a superior transverse torus and lack of an inferior transverse torus at the mandibular symphysis, appear to be unique.

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