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Notes on American Monkeys of the Genus Cebus

Philip Hershkovitz
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1375688 449-452 First published online: 1 August 1955

Critical remarks by the late Dr. G. H. H. Tate (1954) regarding my identification of Cebus apella Linnaeus seem to be founded on a misunderstanding of the significance of certain external characters of the species and a misinterpretation of the terminology used for indicating those characters.

The original figure and description of Simia apella Linnaeus, 1766, reproduced by Tate (1954, Pl. 1) refers quite correctly to the animal all authors have held to be Cebus apella. My 1949 characterization of Cebus apella is based on the same figure as well as on large series of specimens from various museums and others accumulated by Dr. Remington Kellogg for his study of the species Cebus apella.

The basis for the difference of opinion is that Tate (1954: 415) points to one animal but holds in mind a totally different one when he states that C. apella is “an uncrested species and that the name appeared to be applicable to the common gray-brown species inhabiting the Guiana region, which Hershkovitz (p. 332 [1949]) refers to C. nigrivittatus castaneus.” Tate goes on to say (p. 417) that comparisons of the picture of the original C. apella “with the apella of Hershkovitz (1949: 325, Fig. 52) will, I think, forever still any doubt that Linnaeus had before him an uncrested Cebus monkey when he described Simia apella.”

Tate's concept of crested and uncrested species of Cebus is based solely on cranial characters and primarily on the presence or absence of a sagittal crest on the skull of the adult male (cf. Tate, 1939:210). Neither sex nor cranial characters of the original Simia apella are placed in evidence. Obviously, Tate confused his own term crested, referring to cranial characters, with his and my term, “tufted,” referring to …

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