Tarsiiformes are a group of primates that once ranged across Europe, northern Africa, Asia, and North America, but whose extant species are all found in the islands of Southeast Asia. Tarsiers (family Tarsiidae) are the only living members of the infraorder, and also include the extinct Tarsius eocaenus from the Eocene and Tarsius thailandicus from the Miocene. Two extinct genera, Xanthorhysis and Afrotarsius, are considered to be close relatives of the living tarsiers and are generally classified within Tarsiiformes, with the former grouped within family Tarsiidae and the latter listed as incertae sedis (undefined). Omomyids are generally considered to be extinct relatives, or even ancestors, of the living tarsiers and are often classified within Tarsiiformes. Other fossil primates, which include Microchoeridae, Carpolestidae, and Eosimiidae, have been included in this classification, although the fossil evidence is debated. Eosimiidae has also been classified under the infraorder Simiiformes (with monkeys and apes). Likewise, Carpolestidae is often classified within the order Plesiadapiformes, a very close, extinct relative of primates. These conflicting classifications lie at the heart of the debate over early primate evolution. Even the placement of Tarsiiformes within suborder Haplorhini (with the monkeys and apes") is still debated.
Generally accepted members of this infraorder include the living tarsiers, the extinct omomyids, two extinct fossil genera, and two extinct fossil species within the genus Tarsius. As haplorhines, they are more closely related to monkeys and apes than to the strepsirrhine primates, which include lemurs, galagos, and lorises.
- Order Primates
- Suborder Strepsirrhini: lemurs, lorises, and galagos
- Suborder Haplorhini
- Other extinct taxa that are thought to belong to Tarsiiformes but are yet unranked include Ekgmowechashala, Kohatius, Altanius, and Altiatlasius.
- The placement of this taxon is still under debate.
- Alternatively, this genus is sometimes listed in the family Afrotarsiidae within Tarsiiformes or as a family within the infraorder Simiiformes.
- In 2010, Colin Groves and Myron Shekelle suggested splitting the living tarsiers into three genera: Tarsius, Cephalopachus, and Carlito.
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- Gunnell, G.; Rose, K. (2002). "Tarsiiformes: Evolutionary History and Adaptation". In Hartwig, W.C. (ed.). The Primate Fossil Record. Cambridge University Press. Bibcode:2002prfr.book.....H. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1.
- Nowak, R.M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 94–97. ISBN 978-0-8018-5789-8.
- McKenna, M.C., and Bell, S.K. 1997. Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York, 337–340 pp. ISBN 0-231-11013-8
- Simons, E.L. (2003). "The Fossil Record of Tarsier Evolution". In Wright, P.C.; Simons, E.L.; Gursky, S. (eds.). Tarsiers: past, present, and future. ISBN 978-0-8135-3236-3.
- Beard, C. (2002). "Basal Anthropoids". In Hartwig, W.C. (ed.). The Primate Fossil Record. Cambridge University Press. Bibcode:2002prfr.book.....H. ISBN 978-0-521-66315-1.
- Fleagle, J. G. 2013. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. San Diego, Academic Press.
- Ankel-Simons, F. (2007). Primate Anatomy (3rd ed.). Academic Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-12-372576-9.
- Groves, C.; Shekelle, M. (2010). "The Genera and Species of Tarsiidae". International Journal of Primatology. 31 (6): 1071–1082. doi:10.1007/s10764-010-9443-1.
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