Eocene Primates

The North American primate fauna of the Eocene represent an excellent system in which to observe the dynamics of morphological diversification and decline in response to climatic trends across a thirty-million-year interval. I am working to combine body mass estimates with the dental topography metrics calculated on molars scanned from North American fossil primates in order to measure the relationships between morphological disparity, temperature, and other climate factors. If climatic amelioration was associated with the opening of ecological opportunity for fossil primates, these niches likely contracted as climates cooled toward the Oligocene, and disparity should show a strong correlation with temperature. Alternately, if cooling drove diverging specialization, then this should be reflected in a negative correlation between temperature and disparity.

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