Anthropoids vs Prosimians
Being humans, we should be aware of our taxonomic relatives. According to the major taxonomic classifications, anthropoids and prosimians are the two major groups (Suborders: Anthropoidea and Prosimii) of the Order: Primates. The two suborders exhibit different characteristics in their anatomical and behavioural characteristics, but differences in the skull arrangement are prominent in keeping the prosimians and anthropoids apart. In recent classifications, however, the anthropoids are classified in the Infraorder: Simiiformes; thus, the two groups of primates are most commonly known as simians and prosimians.
Anthropoids are also known as Simians and they are the most evolved and most intelligent among all animals lived to date. Anthropoids consist of three main primate groups known as New World Monkeys, Old World Monkeys, and Apes including humans. According to the fossil evidence, anthropoids have started to deviate from prosimians as New World Monkeys about 40 million years ago. The Old World species split from the rest of the primates around 25 million years from today. Anthropoids are large bodied primates with some species, such as Gorilla, being more than 200 kilograms in weight. In addition to the body weight and size, volume of the skull and size of the brain is very high in anthropoids compared to many other animals, as well. The New World Monkeys are known as Platyrrhines while Old World Monkeys and apes are known as Catarrhines. Platyrrhines have flat noses, their nostrils are pointed forward, and they can sit on their ankles. Catarrhines have narrow noses with downward pointed nostrils, and they sit on their rumps. Anthropoids are mostly herbivorous, but omnivorous species are not uncommon.
Prosimians are members of the Suborder: Prosimii. Loris and lemurs are the main present-day prosimians. However, prosimians do not belong to a certain clade, as they include some distinct species such as tarsiers, adapids (extinct), and omomyids (extinct). Hence, it is a paraphyletic group of primates. They were the firstly evolved primates and the only primates that are native to Madagascar. Their natural distribution has never reached the Americas; instead, they have been distributed in Asia and Africa. They primarily depend on insects, and their sharp teeth are adaptations for their food habits. Their sharp teeth are specially arranged, which looks like a toothcomb. The snout of the prosimians is notably protruded, and their noses are wet. However, tarsiers neither do have wet noses nor tooth combs. The presence of grooming claws in prosimians is another important characteristic to notice. All of these animals are arboreal, and most are leaping while few species prefer to move very slowly through the branches of the trees. During daytime, prosimians prefer to keep hidden but active in the night.
What is the difference between Anthropoids and Prosimians?
• Anthropoids are a clade while prosimians are a paraphyletic group.
• Anthropoids are more evolved compared to prosimians.
• There are many more anthropoid species than the number of prosimian species.
• Anthropoids are either arboreal or terrestrial, while prosimians are always arboreal.
• Prosimians are nocturnal, but anthropoids could be active at any time of the day.
• Body size and brain capacity is much higher in anthropoids than in prosimians.
• Anthropoids are distributed everywhere in the world except Australia and Antarctica while prosimians are naturally found in Asia and Africa only.
• Snout is more protruded in prosimians compared to anthropoids.
• Anthropoids are omnivorous or herbivorous while prosimians are herbivorous only.
• Prosimians have toothcombs but not the anthropoids.