Taxonomy Bibliography


Fleagle, John C. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. New York: Academic Press, 1988.

  • This college level text includes many details about primate anatomy and ecology. It introduces the living species and outlines their taxonomic relationships. A good source for nearly up-to-date information on fossil primates, including humans.

Kavanaugh, Michael. A Complete Guide to Monkeys, Apes and Other Primates. New York: Viking Press, 1984.

  • This book contains photos of every living primate genus known in 1983; includes maps showing geographical ranges for most primates listed; and contains an appendix of taxonomic primate classification. Probably the most readable of the taxonomy texts.

Monkeys and Apes. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1985.

  • This field guide has illustrations of most species, accompanied by brief descriptions of each, with information on geographical ranges, social behavior, and average size of each animal.

Napier, J. R. and P. H. Napier. Handbook of Living Primates: Morphology, Ecology and Behaviour of Nonhuman Primates. London, New York: Academic Press, 1967.

  • Although some of the taxonomic names have changed since this book was published, it contains useful information on reproduction and development, ecology, anatomy and geographical ranges.

Napier, J. R. and P. H. Napier. The Natural History of the Primates. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985.

  • This book provides sections on anatomical structure and function, social behavior and human evolution. The taxonomic section is illustrated with many color and black- and-white photos, and includes concise information on the geographic range, diet, reproduction and anatomy of most living primates.

Napier, Prue. Monkeys and Apes. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1972.

  • This readable book includes the characteristics that define a primate, and information on the variety of environments in which primates live. Notes on the geographical range and ecology of many primate species are included, as well as some information about social behavior. Although some of the information is outdated, this is still a good source book for writing reports on primates.

Ranger Rick’s Naturescope: Amazing Mammals, Part I. Washington DC: National Wildlife Federation, 1988.

  • This book provides a general introduction to mammals, discussing the characteristics of what makes a mammal a mammal, how mammals grow up and stay alive, and how humans have influenced the lives of all other mammals. The text includes numerous drawings and suggests activities.

Ranger Rick’s Naturescope: Amazing Mammals, Part II. Washington DC: National Wildlife Federation, 1989.

  • This book takes up where Part I ends, highlighting the behavior and individual qualities of animals within the Mammalia order. Page 3-12 deals specifically with the primates. Drawings and activities are included.

Tylinek, Erich (photos) and Gotthart Berger (text). Monkeys and Apes. New York: Arco Pub., 1985.

  • There are large colorful photos of many species, but nearly all are of animals in captivity. Taxonomy goes to the subspecies level for several primates. The author also examines the relationship between humans and other primates.


Animal Evolution: Primate Evolution. Produced by Denoyer-Geppert Audio-Visuals, Times Mirror, 5235 Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640. Distributed by Educational Images, PO Box 3456, Elmira, NY 14905. (20 color slides w/ script: 1975)

  • This slide set considers primate classification and its relationship to primate evolution. It describes the probable primate ancestors and names contemporary primates that resemble them. It examines the effect of arboreal life on early primates and considers several adaptations which have resulted, concluding with a discussion of ground-living primates. Recommended for grades 6-12, though some of the material is dated.

Life In The Trees, A. Produced by BBC, 630 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10020. Distributed by Films Inc., 5547 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60640. (3/4″ or 1/2″ videotape; col., sd.; 58 min.: 1981)

  • Part of the Life on Earth series hosted by David Attenborough, this program explores the evolution of primates in a wide range of geographic areas, and explains the significance of the primate traits of binocular vision and grasping hands as suited to life in the trees. Despite its lengthy running time, this program is well produced and likely to engage a student’s interest.

Monkeys and Apes: An Introduction to the Primates. Produced by Paul Burnford Film Productions, 9417 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Distributed by Phoenix/BFA Films and Video; 470 Park Ave S., New York, NY 10016, (800) 221-1274 (VHS; col., sd.; 11 min.: 1965)

  • Where do primates live? How do they move through the threes? What kinds of food do they eat? The answers to these questions for more than 10 species of monkeys and apes are given in a lively format. Recommended for grades 3-6.

Monkeys, Apes and Man. Produced by National Geographic Society and Wolper Productions. Distributed by the National Geographic Society. (VHS; col., sd.; 52 min.: 1971)

  • Beginning with the Scopes monkey trail, this program examines the relationships between humans and the rest of the primates through an introduction to primate behavior. The work of primatologists such as Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Harry Harlow is introduced. Primate studies, including observations on swimming and food washing by Japanese macaques; responses of chimpanzees to a mechanical leopard; thumb-sucking in infant rhesus macaques; and tool use by chimpanzees, are shown. The material on humans may seem very dated to students, but still useful for grades 9-12.