Talk:Haplorhini

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Spelling[edit]

I'm confused: the article is called 'Haplorrhini' (two 'R's) and yet the text uses the words Haplorhini and haplorhines (one 'R') throughout.. the opening line even specifies a single R. Any experts know the correst usage? Kaid100 (talk) 12:47, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I think two r's is correct per the Wikispecies link, the interlanguage links, and other indicators. An anonymous user, 70.171.203.154 decided to change names with two r's to have one r's in a few articles on primates, for no apparent reason. Graham87 12:57, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
One 'r' is correct - see Klein (1999) "The Human Career", a standard textbook on human evolution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chris London 1955 (talkcontribs) 10:37, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
There are links at the Paleobiology Database, MSW3, the Taxacom mailing list and more Taxacom discussing the difference in spelling. The original taxonomy was Haplorrhini (Pocock, 1918) which was subsequently corrected (to improve the Greek) to Haplorhini by Maw et al. (1979); this was then used by Beard et al. (1994) and Rosenberger (2006); other authors recognise the original form including McKenna and Bell (1997), Poux and Douzery (2004) and Bloch et al. (2007). As MSW3 used Haplorrhini we should probably stick with two r's for the moment unless someone has a better source (or can verify Klein (1999)). Jack (talk) 15:13, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Spelling revisited[edit]

Someone just went through the article and changed "haplorrhine" back to "haplorhine." Despite the mixed use in the literature, we need to stick to the latter per the reasons above. If someone has time to revert it back, please do. Otherwise, I will try to take care of it after work tonight. – VisionHolder « talk » 14:46, 8 June 2011 (UTC)


On the correct spelling:[edit]

I changed the entry from two "r"s to one "r" because the clade (correct spelling "Haplorhini" - one "r") was mis-spelled throughout the entry. ( I am tired of my undergrad students mis-spelling the name Haplorhini because Wikipedia has an error, so I decided to correct it myself.) This spelling is not only standard usage in the scientific literature, it is the rule according to the accepted principles of zoological nomenclature.

But of course, don't take my word for it just because I am an expert on this topic -- if you search Google Scholar for "haplorhini" (correct spelling), you get 17,900 hits. If you search "haplorrhini (incorrect spelling), you get 217. (In Web of Science, you only get 3 peer-reviewed journal articles for the incorrect spelling). This spelling is not an even remotely controversial issue among students of mammalian taxonomy. The current title of the section (which still has 2 "r"s) is not correct. PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 18:43, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Taxonomy, particularly at the higher levels, is more of a matter of opinion. I will admit that you're right about the frequency of use, and therefore won't revert. I asked Colin Groves about this over email, and here is is reply:

Jenkins, P.D. 1987. Catalogue of Primates in the British Museum (Natural History) and elsewhere in the British Isles. Part IV: Suborder Strepsirrhini, including the subfossil Madagascan lemurs and Family Tarsiidae. London: British Museum (Natural History). She stated on p.1, "The spelling of higher category names has been variable in this group. Authors almost invariably incorrectly deleted an 'r ' from Strepsirrhini (i.e. Strepsirhini), yet retained it in the other two names created by E.Geoffroy (1812a) -- Platyrrhini and Catarrhini." The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature does not cover taxonomic ranks above the family-group, so one cannot say that this is "official", but what Paula Jenkins did was to point out the different treatment of Geoffroy's three names, and that the elimination of an 'r ' from just one of them is inconsistent and (etymologically) incorrect. I have not done any counts, but it is my impression that people have on the whole accepted her argument, and turned to using the correct Strepsirrhini. Including me (for example, in the Wilson & Reeder Mammal Species of the World)! -Colin Groves

The important part here is that we're consistent. – VisionHolder « talk » 13:09, 9 June 2011 (UTC)


The major goal of any scheme of taxonomy is the ability for specialists to know what species are being referred to, and to meet this goal stability is key. Here's a quote from the INTERNATIONAL CODE OF ZOOLOGICAL NOMENCLATURE: "biological nomenclature has to be an exact tool that will convey a precise meaning for persons in all generations" (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-sites/iczn/code/)

You're correct that the ICZN only officially covers taxa up to superfamily, but the principles for deferring to "general use" are clear nonetheless:

"Measures empowering authors to act in the interests of preserving established usage

11. An author will be required (without a ruling by the Commission) not to displace a name which has been used as valid by at least 10 authors in 25 publications during the past 50 years, and encompassing a span of not less than ten years, by an earlier synonym or homonym which has not been used as valid since 1899.

12. In most cases an author will be required to maintain the particular spelling in prevailing usage for a name, even if it is found not to be the original spelling; for example, the spellings of family-group names currently in use are to be maintained even if formed from grammatically incorrect stems.

14. If it is found that a name currently in general use for a family-group taxon is later than the name currently in use for one of its subordinate family-group taxa, the name used for the higher rank taxon is not to be displaced by the name of the subordinate taxon."

This issue also inspired me to pull out my copy of Pocock 1918, and contrary to the claim of "Jack" above (2009), the original spelling of Haplorhini was with a single "r". So in the case of Haplorhini, the correct spelling is clear-cut. One "r" has priority, AND it is in general use.

So while I agree with you that consistency is important, I submit that consistency in Wikipedia should never come at the expense of accuracy. In this case, the correct answer is clear - "haplorhine" is spelled with one "r". (My only question now if how to correct the spelling the title of this entry and eliminate the "redirect" from "Haplorhini" - perhaps you more experienced Wikipedians can help me out.) PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 16:36, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Pocock (1918) does indeed use Haplorhini; see the online version at [1]. I agree that sometimes Wikipedia follows MSW3 too slavishly. We should follow the preponderance of sources, and as you say it is clear that "Haplorhini" is used overwhelmingly in the peer-reviewed literature.
I will move the article by using the "Move" button (next to "Edit" and the others). It may not yet appear to you because very new accounts are not allowed to move pages. Ucucha 17:56, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, you guys may be scientists, but I am a professional linguist, and I happen to know about Greek word-formation rules. When the second element of a compound begins with rh-, the r is automatically doubled in composition. It is not an option at all. That is why catarrhini, platyrrhini, and strepsirrhini have the double 'r'. It is not because the scientists who coined those terms were having fun with those words. So, evidently, when it came time to coin haplorrhini, somebody goofed and didn't see the connection with the other terms (how is that possible, one wonders). But that doesn't mean that it's too late to fix the goof. Suppose some scientist is coining a term for a new species of monkey and wants to use the -pithecus suffix (as in Australopithecus, Cercopithecus) but misspells it, e.g. as -pythikus. After that, you're going to tell me that the correct spelling of that new species must forever have -pythikus rather than the actually correct -pithecus? Pasquale (talk) 21:00, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the governing body that rules over taxonomy doesn't deal with suborders, infraorders, etc. Yes, I would rather see two r's. In fact, I addressed this in the Strepsirrhini article. Of course I managed to piss off several leading scientists in doing so, since they favor one r... but you can't please everyone. Unfortunately, Haplorhini was defined with one r, and after one person tried to correct it, the academic community largely ignored it... so we're kind of stuck. You're welcome to take this up with the academics all you want. – Maky « talk » 21:20, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. It seems to me that a huge problem in the scientific community is that, while the scientific nomenclature is all in Greek and Latin, no one knows any Greek or Latin any more. Pasquale (talk) 17:15, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
I completely agree—few seem to know much about Latin and/or Greek, myself included. That is why I usually find an expert, have them explain it, and then take up a stance that advocates correct spellings. However, doing that here on Wiki requires reliable sources, though the primary usage is always governed by consensus from the sources. If you can write a paper about misspellings in the biological sciences and mention this case in a reliable source, I'll gladly put it to use in the Haplorhini article. For now, I don't think I have access to the Jenkins & Napier paper I cited in Strepsirrhini, so I'm not sure if they talked much about Haplorhini... otherwise I'd write something about it. – Maky « talk » 21:05, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Other taxonomic issues[edit]

Note that the correct names of the two clades that constitute Haplorhini are (1) Tarsiiformes and (2) Anthropoidea. As with the correct spelling of haplorhini, these are non-controversial issues among mammalian taxonomists. PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 19:34, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Taxonomy is usually controversial, particularly primate taxonomy... unless, of course, you have your head stuck in the sand, which is one of the big reasons for all the controversy. Anyway, I've written to Colin Groves again to get his opinion on the matter. Some people use the term anthropoid, others use the word simian. There may be differences in frequencies of use, but just because you favor one over the other, that does not mean the usage is universal.
P.S. - Welcome to Wikipedia. I'm glad that you are being bold in your edits. I do suggest reviewing Wikipedia:Five pillars. – VisionHolder « talk » 13:16, 9 June 2011 (UTC)


This is an easy issue to resolve. First, "simian" is an informal term used to refer to non-human anthropoids. The clade "Anthropoidea" was named by Mivart in 1864. "Simiiformes" was named 2 years later (1866) by Haeckel to describe the same group (i.e., monkeys, apes, humans). More importantly (see "general use" discussion above), "Anthropoidea" / "anthropoid" are used nearly universally by specialists. A search for "Anthropoidea" recovers 148 peer-reviewed journal articles on Web of Science; "Simiiformes" recovers only 6 papers, starting with Hoffstetter in 1974. Also, "anthropoid" nets 855 papers; "simiiform" nets 5. [For reasons that are not immediately clear, a small group of European authors started using "simiiform" in preference to "anthropoid"; this change has not been widely adopted.]

Therefore: "Anthropoidea" has priority over "Simiiformes", AND it is in far greater general use. It's not clear to me why Groves has endorsed "Simiiformes" in Mammal Species of the World online: http://www.vertebrates.si.edu/msw/mswcfapp/msw/taxon_browser.cfm?msw_id=1335 but then again Groves has never been afraid to buck the prevailing taxonomic trends. In this case, the effect has laid bare the difference between authoritative peer-reviewed sources used by experts (e.g., in the biological anthropology and mammalogy primary literature - nearly everyone uses "anthropoid") and non peer-reviewed online sources (e.g., Wikipedia and Animal Diversity Web, which have followed the online Mammal Species of the World page - probably because it is easier to access without library privileges at a research university).

In this case, I submit that, for all of the reasons discussed here as well as the thread above regarding the correct spelling of "haplorhine", Wikipedia and its users would be best served by using the correct taxonomy that is in near universal use among experts - the clade Haplorhini has two constituent clades: Anthropoidea and Tarsiiformes PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 17:09, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree that Wikipedia should use Anthropoidea, since it is in more common use (although I'd personally prefer Simiiformes). Ucucha 18:48, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

"Less primitive"[edit]

"Haplorrhines are considered to be less primitive than the strepsirrhine" – is there a citation for this? "Less primitive" without context sounds decidedly un-evolutionary and hence unscientific.--77.188.16.131 (talk) 11:48, 8 January 2010 (UTC)


I agree - the old language was problematic because all clades are defined by shared derived features (including Strepsirrhini). I changed the entry to read "Haplorhines share a number of derived features that distinguish them from the strepsirrhine "wet-nosed" primates..."

PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 19:23, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Second Paragraph claims about Darwinius[edit]

Darwinius is listed as 47 million years old and being characterized as a Strepsirrhine Adapiform. Haplorrhini is considered to have branched from Strepsirrhini around 63 million years ago. So how could Darwinius possibly be the oldest true Haplorrhini?96.240.136.173 (talk) 08:54, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

The claim was highly publicized but scientifically criticized. I have added information to clarify. Thanks for catching that. I apologize, but this article is in terrible shape. – VisionHolder « talk » 21:11, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
That's as maybe, but the very title of the article is highly misleading to anyone who doesn't know taxonomy very well, and almost nobody does! I'd say that link is due for removal or flagging as a highly unreliable source.

Darwinius not relevant[edit]

I deleted the reference to Darwinius here because the claim that it is an early haplorhine has been thoroughly debunked. It therefore was not relevant to the entry on Haplorhini (note that Darwinius has its own entry in Wikipedia). See:

Seiffert, Perry, Simons, Boyer. 2009. Convergent evolution of anthropoid-like adaptations in Eocene adapiform primates. Nature 461,1118–1121.

Williams, Kay, Kirk, Ross. 2010. Darwinius masillae is a strepsirrhine – a reply to Franzen et al. (2009). Journal of Human Evolution. 59: 567-573.

Williams, Kay, Kirk. 2010. New perspectives on anthropoid origins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107: 4797-4804. PorfirioPhoonman (talk) 19:32, 8 June 2011 (UTC)