Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 August 2009
The goal of this volume was to bring together the efforts of scientists with research interests and experience from many parts of the world to provide a comparative perspective of the primate communities or assemblages from different biogeographical regions. The preceding chapters have taken a wide range of approaches to the study of communities including: (1) broad surveys and analyses of the diversity of communities within individual regions; (2) detailed examinations of the factors that underlie community differences at both a microecological level and a macroecological level; (3) comparative study of the relationship between primate diversity and that of other aspects of the fauna and of the flora; and (4) attempts to put extant communities in a temporal perspective through examination of the history of individual and regional faunas and habitats, as well as attempts to predict changes that primate communities are likely to undergo in the coming years if present patterns of extinction continue.
In general, most authors seemed to find the differences among communities far more impressive than the overall similarities among communities. The chapters by Kappeler, Reed, and Ganzhorn (chapters 9, 7 and 8 respectively) found significant differences in the body size distributions of primates from different regions both at a regional level and for individual communities. Fleagle & Reed's chapter 6 (see also Fleagle & Reed, 1996) documented differences in the ecological space occupied by individual communities of primates of different regions. Recently, Jernvall & Wright (1998) obtained very similar results using the same technique on a different data set for the primates of entire biogeographic regions.