Types of Prosimians: Prosimians are a grouping of primates that is currently made up of the species (both living and extinct) of two main taxonomic categories: the Strepsirrhini suborder (which includes galagos, lemurs, loris, and more) and the Tarsiiformes infraorder (which is made up of tarsiers).
Prosimians’ counterpart is Simians, a group that includes all other primate species (e.g., monkeys, apes, humans). The term “Prosimian” means “pre-monkey” in Latin, which refers to the fact that the species of this grouping are generally more primitive than the Simians.
It is important to note that traditionally, the Prosimians and Simians were separated into two suborders within the Primates order: Prosimian species made up the Prosimii suborder, while Simian species made up the Anthropoidea suborder.
However, upon further research, biologists found that tarsiers, considered Prosimians, are more closely related to Simians; many taxonomists believed that the taxonomic classification of the two suborders had to be revamped entirely to account for this discovery.
As a result, under the more modern classification, tarsiers are put under the Haplorhini suborder (as are Simians), while the other Prosimians are put under the Strepsirrhini suborder.
Due to these taxonomic changes, the term “Prosimian” is not in circulation as often as before; regardless, it can still be used to collectively describe all the “non-Simian” primates.
Table of Contents
- Characteristics of Prosimians
- Prosimian Families
- Types of Prosimians
Characteristics of Prosimians
Although the grouping known as “Prosimians” is vast and contains many different kinds of species, they do share common characteristics. Below is a concise list that details some of these characteristics:
As mentioned earlier, the taxonomy of Prosimians has changed over time; this list of families will pertain to the newer classification system as it is more relevant in the modern day.
Note that a few extinct primate species classified as Prosimians do not fall under any taxonomic family. Due to these factors, the list below ultimately cannot be seen as exhaustive coverage of every type of Prosimian.
Extinct Prosimian Families
Living Prosimian Families
Types of Prosimians