On the Origin of Allopatric Primate Species and the Principle of Metachromic Bleaching

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Named one of the HEROES FOR THE PLANET by Time Magazine in 2000, Dutch and naturalized Brazilian primatologist, Dr. MARC VAN ROOSMALEN, has certainly proved one requires super hero qualities to navigate not only the Amazon jungle, but also the "monkey business" politics of governments and world environmental agencies. Landing in a Brazilian jail in 2007 among convicted murderers being charged for alleged biopiracy, this world renowned explorer was sentenced for 14 years to be spent in a public jail. Concerned that scientific inquiry was being criminalized, outraged scientists worldwide came to his appeal and after an extensive legal battle, in 2009 he was acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court. After spending 30 years exploring the Amazon, Van Roosmalen has become the world's leading expert on the Amazon's ecology with emphasis on monkeys, plant-animal relations in seed dispersal, and coevolution. He has discovered 5 new monkey species and a new genus CALLIBELLA, and identified another 20 new primates. All these new mammals, incl. a cf. PONTOPORIA dolphin and a dwarf manatee, are described in his Magnum Opus "Barefoot through the Amazon". He has also discovered evidence of prehistoric Amerindian horticulturists farming in the Amazon, and surmises that the soil enhancement methods employed by them already for over 5000 years could offer an alternative to the destructive slash-and-burn techniques used today. Clearly seeing the devastation of the "Lungs" and the "Carbon Sink" of our planet, Van Roosmalen has been committed to the conservation of the rain forest. He has been an outspoken critic of corporate and governmental corruption that has led to the illegal logging and deforestation in the Amazon. Addressing his exploration and discoveries, his activism, and controversial incarceration, many articles have appeared in the press, including the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine and Wired. National Geographic has produced the documentary film about him titled SPECIES HUNTER. The Institute of International Education through its Scholar Rescue Fund has procured a position for Dr. van Roosmalen as "Distinguished Scholar in Residence," at Bard College and SUNY for the academic year 2010-2011. Here, he was teaching courses in rain-forest ecology and human rights as well as developing relationships with American institutions to stabilize his dream - a biological and anthropological research station in the heart of the Amazon.

On the Origin of Allopatric Primate Species and the Principle of Metachromic Bleaching

Discrimination of Deviant Adolescent Males Driving Allopatric Speciation in Territorial Social Primates

Authored by Dr Marc G.M. van Roosmalen, Dr Tomas van Roosmalen

Here we present a theory on the origin of allopatric primate species that follows - at least in Neotropical primates - the irreversible trend to albinotic skin and coat color, called "metachromic bleaching". It explains why primates constitute such an exceptionally diverse, species-rich, and colorful Order in the Class Mammalia. The theory is in tune with the principle of evolutionary change in tegumentary colors called "metachromism", a hypothesis propounded by the late Philip Hershkovitz. Metachromism holds the evolutionary change in hair, skin, and eye melanins following an orderly and irreversible sequence that ends in loss of pigment becoming albinotic, cream to silvery or white. In about all extant sociable Neotropical monkeys we identified an irreversible trend according to which metachromic varieties depart from the saturated eumelanin (agouti, black or blackish brown) archetypic form and then speciate into allopatric taxa following the trend to albinotic skin and coat color. Speciation goes either along the eumelanin pathway (from gray to silvery to cream to white), or the pheomelanin pathway (from red to orange to yellow to white), or a combination of the two. The theory represents a new evolutionary concept that seems to act indefinitely in a non-adaptive way in the population dynamics of male-hierarchic societies of all sociable primates that act territorial. We have tested the theory in all 17 extant Neotropical monkey genera. Our theory suggests the trend to allopatry among metachromic varieties in a social group or population to be the principal behavioral factor that empowers metachromic processes in sociable Neotropical monkeys. It may well represent the principal mechanism behind speciation, radiation, niche separation, and phylogeography in all sociable primates that hold male-defended territories. We urge field biologists who study primate distributions, demography and phylogeography in the Old World to take our theory to the test in the equally colorful Catarrhini.

Publication Date:
1494330342 / 9781494330347
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Nature / Animals / Primates

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