The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Session 36. The Last Link: Tarsiers. Invited Podium Symposium. Chair: Alfred L. Rosenberger

March 27, 2015 , Grand Ballroom D Add to calendar

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Gregory’s naming the Tarsiiformes, a taxonomic group that has endured for at least 55 million years.  Its members once comprised a large intercontinental adaptive radiation but they are now represented by a few relict archipelagic species living in South East Asia.  Tarsiers have been an evolutionary enigma ever since Tarsius was recognized by Western science.  During the 20th century, two acclaimed, seminal conferences were held to discuss the taxonomical “tarsier problem.”  Both advanced the science considerably.  With this symposium we assemble a multidisciplinary group of scholars to update key aspects of tarsier biology, evolutionary history and conservation in light of many new developments that have occurred since the last pivotal meeting, 40 years ago – actually, during the last 5-10 years.  While the focus of these earlier gatherings dwelt on the crucial question of tarsier phylogeny, our theme is much broader.  It reflects research intrinsic to today’s physical anthropology and primatology enterprise.  Consequently, this symposium will encourage dialogue among researchers with different specialties, backgrounds and perspectives, and it is likely to foster a new round of innovation and collaboration that will impact studies of tarsiers and other primates, both living and extinct.  Tarsiers are the Last Link, the last remaining – and still living – animals standing between the dominant, remarkably successful anthropoids and the lemurs and lorises whose evolution took a different trajectory.  They are at the center of primate evolution.   Many face a perilous future.  Yet we know little about their ecology, behavior, conservation, molecular systematics, taxonomy, functional morphology, growth and development, sensory systems, paleontology and phylogenetics – all matters that will be covered in our symposium – to help secure their place in nature and promote knowledge that will contribute to understanding our own remote origins.  

1:00 Add to calendar Leaps in Tarsier taxonomy: Analysis of skull variations in Tarsiidae using Geometric Morphometrics. Sebastien Couette.
1:15 Add to calendar Pelage Coloration As An Adaptive Trait. Sharon Gursky.
1:30 Add to calendar Testing the undersampled tarsier hypothesis. Myron Shekelle, Sharon Gursky-Doyen, Stefan Merker.
1:45 Add to calendar Fossil tarsiiforms: a tangled tree. Gregg F. Gunnell.
2:00 Add to calendar Tarsiers, Omomyids, and New Postcranial Elements of Teilhardina belgica. Dan Gebo, Richard Smith, Marian Dagosto, Thierry Smith.
2:15 Add to calendar New discoveries of fossil tarsiiform primates and their implications for anthropoid origins. K. Christopher Beard.
2:30 Add to calendar Why have tarsiers jumped between so many branches of the primate tree?. Todd R. Disotell.
2:45 Add to calendar Changing perspectives: Ontogeny of facial orientation and eye hypertrophy in tarsiers. Valerie B. DeLeon, Timothy D. Smith, Alfred L. Rosenberger.
3:00 Add to calendar Overview of Sensory Systems of Tarsius. Jon H. Kaas.
3:15 Add to calendar Are Tarsiers fast or slow? A comparison of the triceps surae muscle and muscle fibers. Magdalena N. Muchlinski, Timothy D. Smith, Ly Li, Emily L. Durham, Anne Burrows.
3:30 Add to calendar Tarsiers are real head turners: Morphologies related to extreme axial rotation in the cervical vertebral column. Thierra K. Nalley, Neysa Grider-Potter, Jason M. Organ.
3:45 Add to calendar What's inside tarsier faces?. Anne M. Burrows, Ly Li.
4:00 Discussion: John G. Fleagle
4:15 Break