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Fossil range: Late Eocene - Recent
An infant Stump-tailed Macaque, held by a human hand
An infant Stump-tailed Macaque,
held by a human hand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Parvorder: Catarrhini
É. Geoffroy, 1812


Catarrhini is a parvorder of the Primates, one of the three major divisions of the suborder Haplorrhini. It contains the family Cercopithecidae (Old World monkeys), the gibbons or lesser apes (Hylobatidae) and the Hominidae (hominids), which include humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans. Some count the orangutan as its own family, called Pongidae. Older references described humans and their most close extinct relatives/ancestors as family on its own and placed the great apes in the family Pongidae. The other two major divisions of the suborder Haplorrhini are the prosimian tarsiers, which were formerly classified with the strepsirrhines, and the Platyrrhini (New World monkeys), which live in both South America and Central America.

Catarrhini means narrow nose, and the term describes their narrow, downward pointing nostrils. Unlike the platyrrhini, they are generally diurnal and their tails (if they have tails at all) are not prehensile. They have flat fingernails.

Their dental formula is Template:Dentition2

Most species show considerable sexual dimorphism and do not form a pair bond. Most, but not all, species live in social groups. They are all native to Africa and Asia.

Classification and evolution

The apes and Old World monkeys split from their New World monkey kin about 40 million years ago. The major catarrhine division occurred about 25 mya, with the gibbons separating from the great apes and humans about 18 mya.


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