Fig: Doug and Adrienne in the Burke Museum examining pelt specimens
The basic question that has sparked our research is whether social or environmental factors exert different selective force on primate coloration. We believe that the face, since it is influenced more heavily by social factors, will show greater evolutionary change. In order to pursue this question we will be comparing the evolutionary rates of the face and pelt coloration across 41 species of neotropical primates. We have compiled an image database which contains pictures of the pelts and faces of these 41 species, and broken them into sections for data collection. Using a program called ImageJ we are collecting data on facial and body coloration based on RGB scale and Greyscale data on the face and pelt images. We plan to use phylogenetic comparative analyses to track and compare the changes in the rates of evolution of face and pelt coloration across neotropical primates. Using this data we hope to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary forces that shape primate diversity.
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