First discovery of colobine fossils from the early to middle Pleistocene of southern Taiwan
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AbstractHere we report on two kinds of cercopithecid fossil monkeys (Cercopithecinae and Colobinae) from the early to middle Pleistocene sediments of the Chochen (=Tsochen) area (Tsailiao-chi or Shinhua Hill), southern Taiwan. The fossil specimens include the first fossil record of colobine monkeys from Taiwan, where only macaque monkeys now occur. All cercopithecine fossils were identified as Macaca cf. Macaca cyclopis, the extant Taiwan macaque, except for one extremely large isolated upper molar, which may belong to another macaque species. On the other hand, all colobine specimens fall within the size variation of extant and extinct Rhinopithecus, but its specific status cannot be determined because of the scantiness of the fossil material. In Taiwan, Rhinopithecus presumably became extinct in the late Pleistocene, probably owing to global cooling and vegetation change, whereas macaques, which are of almost the same body size as Rhinopithecus, survived as M. cyclopis to the present. The contrasting history of survival between the two kinds of monkeys may be due to ecological/behavioral differences between them or as a result of accidental events that occurred in the Pleistocene of Taiwan.

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