Comparing primate communities: A multivariate approach

John G. Fleagle, Kaye Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Although there have been many studies of the ecology of primates in communities throughout the world, there have been few attempts to compare community ecology within and among continents. In this study the ecological characteristics of the sympatric primate species at eight localities - two from each of the major biogeographic areas inhabited by primates today - South America, Africa, Madagascar, and Asia - were compared using a multivariate technique (principal components analysis of the correlation matrix) to summarize the ten dimensional ecological niche space. The most striking clustering of species in ecological multivariate space is according to phylogeny with closely related species showing similar ecological features. Likewise, the ecological characteristics of individual communities are determined by phylogenetic groups present at each locality or biogeographic region. As a result, communities within any biogeographical region are more similar ecologically to one another than to communities from other continental areas. In several measures of ecological diversity among the species comprising each community, the neotropical communities show lower overall diversity than do communities from other continents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-510
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of human evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996


  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Community ecology
  • Madagascar
  • Phylogeny
  • South America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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