20410490 - Primatologia e antropologia

The course aims at deepening the knowledge on the order of primates, including humans, and on their morphological, physiological, ecological and ethological characteristics, employing comparative and evolutionary perspectives. It provides the basis for an understanding of primate adaptations and biodiversity.
It provides knowledge on primate systematics and phylogeny.
It stimulates the student critical thinking by introducing them to the central themes of contemporary primatology such as debates on conservation strategies for primates in nature and in a controlled environment, and the ethics of well-being in captive management.


teacher profile | materiale didattico


Cultural skills (Knowledge of:) the course offers the conceptual bases for (A) the recognition of the main distinctive features of primates and their anatomical and behavioral adaptations in a comparative ecological and evolutionary perspectives and (B) an understanding of the main evolutionary trends of primates and the origin of human kind.
Methodological skills (Knowing how to perform:) acquiring the critical thinking through readings and discussions, recognition of the main management problems related to in-situ and ex-situ conservation.

Introduction to the order: evolution, phylogeny, taxonomy and systematics. Distinctive features of the primate order compared to other mammals. Anatomy of the primates' body: variability in body size; morphological characteristics and diversity in the skull (dental formulas, muscles of facial expressions), the brain and the senses; skeleton, limbs, nails and claws; digestive and reproductive system. Geographical distribution of primates and introduction to behavioral, social, ecological and life cycle characteristics. Distinctive features, adaptive radiation and phyletic relationships of the various primate taxa. Ecological adaptations and biogeography of primates: communities and patterns of primate diversity on a global scale. Adaptations of primates: functional relationships between morphological characteristics (e.g., size of the body, teeth, shape of the skeleton, sensory organs) and behavioral ecology (e.g., diet, use of the habitat, locomotion) in the study of the evolution of anatomical differences. Paleontological and biomolecular data for the study of evolution, phylogenesis and origin of primates. Adaptive theories on the origin of primates. Elements of paleo-primatology. Ancestral primates and fossils of prosimians. The first anthropoid monkeys and theories on the origin of the platyrrhine monkeys. Fossil platyrrhines. Fossil catarrhines. Fossil apes, early hominids and bipedal primates. The origin of humans: evolution and phylogenesis of the genus Homo. The relations between Homo sapiens and other recent forms of the genus Homo. Adaptive radiation of the primate order and main evolutionary trends. Main causes of the risk of primate species extinction. Problems related to primate in-situ and ex-situ conservation and the ethics of well-being in captive management.

Testi Adottati

Fleagle, J. G. (2013). Primate adaptation and evolution. Third Edition. Academic press.

- Ankel-Simons, F. (2010). Primate anatomy: an introduction. Elsevier.
- Dixson, AF (2012). Primate Sexuality: Comparative Studies of the Prosimians, Monkeys, Apes

The professor receives every day from 9.00 to 10.00 by appointment via email: monica.carosi@uniroma3.it

Modalità Erogazione

This is a lecture-based course (32h), which expects a strong interactive component between teacher and students, and includes practical activities and excursion (20h).

Modalità Valutazione

Final exam is an oral test and the evaluation, based on open questions, is based on the acquired scientific competences, on the analytical skills, and on the ability to argue also by using a scientific language appropriate to a master level