Cercopithecinae


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Cercopithecinae

 

a subfamily of lower catarrhine monkeys. Body length, from 35 cm (the guenon C. talapoin) to 80 cm (the baboon); weight, from 1 to 30 kg.

In most species of Cercopithecinae, the tail is long, but in some it is of medium length or short; in the Barbary ape, it is absent altogether. The limbs are approximately equal in length. In moving, the monkeys support their weight on the underside of the hands and feet. In many species, there is a ridge on the skull above the eyes. The jaws are massive. The brain has numerous sulci and gyri and weighs from 50 g (in guenons) to 200 g (in baboons). The cheek pouches are large.

There are eight genera of Cercopithecinae: Cercopithecus (guenons), Cercocebus (mangabeys), Macaca (macaques), Papio (baboons), Mandrillus (mandrills), Erythrocebus (patas monkeys), Theropithecus (one species, T. gelada, the gelada), and Cynopithecus niger (Celebes, or black ape). All inhabit Africa and southern Asia; most of them dwell in trees but occasionally descend to the ground. (The patas, mangabeys, baboons, and geladas live primarily on the ground.) Cercopithecinae live in bands of several dozen. (Some baboons, including sacred baboons [Papio hamadryas] and chacmas [Papio comatus], live in troops of two or three hundred.) They feed on plants and occasionally on insects, birds, bird eggs, and small mammals. Most species (except the geladas) are often found in captivity, where they sometimes reach an age of 30 years. The gestation period lasts five or six months (in some guenons, seven, and in certain mandrills, about eight). Cercopithecinae are often used for medical and biological research.

REFERENCES

Weber, M. Primaty. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)
Zhiznzhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
Sanderson, I. T., and G. Steinbacher. Knaurs Affenbuch. Munich-Zurich, 1957.
Napier, J. R., and P. H. Napier. A Handbook of Living Primates. London-New York, 1967.

M. F. NESTURKH