Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Saguinus Hoffmannsegg, 1807

Platyrrhine genus to which the tamarins belong; 10-14 species recognized. This genus is sometimes divided into sections based on face pelage or lack of face pelage. Distributed in tropical rain forests from Panama through the Amazon south to Bolivia. Arboreal; diurnal; arboreal quadrupedalism with leaping. Small body size ranging from 300 to 600 g; little or no sexual dimorphism. There is a wide variety of pelage color, facial markings, and accessory pelage structures such as tufts and moustaches in this genus. Tegulae on all digits except the pollex and hallux, which are nailed. Dental formula: 2.1.3.2; mainly frugivorous with insect or gum supplements. Unlike the marmosets, tamarins have larger canines relative to the incisors; the mandible is a rounded U-shape in contrast to the sharp V-shaped condition found in the closely related marmosets. In the past, tamarins were believed to live in monogamous groups, but this has been questioned in recent years; some tamarins are reported to live in groups of up to 40 individuals. Defended territories are typical of these species. Twin births are usual; male assistance in infant care is a characteristic of the genus.

See hairy-faced tamarin section, mottled-faced tamarin section, and bare-faced tamarins.

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