Colobine monkeys have a unique digestive system, analogous to that of ruminants, which allows them to exploit foliage as a food source. This gives them a niche in Old World forests where they are often the only abundant medium-sized arboreal folivorous mammal. From a possible Miocene origin, Colobine monkeys have radiated into a wide variety of forms inhabiting a range of tropical woodlands in Africa and Asia. Most of the extant species have been subject to long term field studies, but until this book, no synthesis of work on this group has been available. The central theme is that of adaptive radiation, showing how the special features of Colobine anatomy interacted with a range of ecosystems to produce the distinctive species of today. The book also discusses parallels with other mammalian groups.
"This well-integrated set of papers demonstrates how far we have travelled toward understanding the interactions among diet, anatomy, demographics and social behavior [in Colobines]." Science "...a genuine exemplar for the primatological literature of edited volumes, and it is a most comprehensive and synthetic account of these animals...Excellent accounts of the evolutionary history of their diversity and natural history, in-depth chapters on their unique digestive system (including their teeth), their population dynamics and social behavior, and, along with the prospects of their future conservation, make this an extremely valuable work for anyone interested in primates, mammalian evolutionary biology, and conservation. Highly recommended." Choice "...a very welcome addition to the primate literature. Colobine Monkeys is an excellent book, and true to its subtitle it does cover ecology, behavior, and evolutionary history with a series of review papers that should make any primatologist who has worked with colobines very satisfied...a valuable book that belongs on every primatologist's shelf." Craig B. Stanford, American Journal of Primatology