Tarsiers


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Tarsiers

 

(Tarsiidae), a family of mammals of the order Primata. The body of the male is 8.5-16 cm long, the tail is 13.5-27.5 cm long, and the animal weighs 80-150g. The head is large and very mobile; it can turn almost 360 degrees. The tarsier has large ears, a short flattened snout, and very large eyes. The forelimbs are short, the hind limbs elongated owing to a well-developed calcaneal section. The fur may be grayish brown or dark brown, and the armpits and the inner thighs are almost completely without fur. The tail is bare with a tuft of fur at the end. The thin, bony fingers and toes have suction pads at the tips. Tarsiers are a transitional form between lemurs and the lower monkeys. Like the lemurs, tarsiers have claws on the second digit of the hind limbs and weakly developed large hemispheres of the brain (they do not cover the cerebellum), and like the monkeys, they have a rounded skull and eye sockets separated from the temporal depression by a bony barrier.

There is one genus (Tarsius), comprising three species: T. syrichta, T. spectrum, and T. bancanus. Tarsiers are found in the Philippines and the Sunda and Malay archipelagoes, where they inhabit inaccessible jungles. They are nocturnal; during the day they sleep, clinging to branches or hiding in hollows. Tarsiers do not build nests. They are at home in trees and can jump 60 cm high and across a distance of 1.2-1.7 m. Tarsiers live most often in pairs, less frequently in groups of three or four. The female bears one offspring, weighing 20-25 g. Tarsiers sometimes live up to 12 years in captivity. Fossil remains of tarsiers have been found from the early Tertiary period in Paleocene and Eocene deposits of Western Europe and North America.

REFERENCE

Weber, M. Primaty: Anatomiia, sistematika i paleontologiia lemurov, dolgopiatov i obez’ian. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)

O. L. ROSSOLIMO

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