The study of non-human primates, our closest relatives, has long been a cornerstone of biological anthropology. The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in behavioral research in the wild and this has increasingly been accompanied by the application of molecular techniques. Still, anatomical studies remain at the foundation of this triad. An understanding of habitat use with respect to positional as well as dietary behavior must necessarily be rooted in analyses of locomotor abilities and dental adaptations. Similarly, investigations of perceptual, developmental and sexual behavior have key correlates in anatomical assessments of sensory, ontogenetic and sexually dimorphic analyses. As such, it is essential for students majoring in biological/physical anthropology to have a solid foundation in primate skeletal anatomy.

In addition, this course is of import to students in related fields who are interested in evolutionary and comparative anatomical investigation as well as those pursuing questions of behavior and systematics. Building upon the framework of classical anatomical study, this course integrates the central phylogenetic and functional foci of primatology. That is, it considers the patterns present among each of the major subdivisions of primates, strepsirhines, catarrhines and platyrrhines, while also focusing on the key functional correlates including locomotor, dietary and sensory adaptations.