R is for Race

Taxonomy and the Tiny Monkeys

As the discoverer of the tiny monkeys I have tried my best to be rational and scientific in my observations. An aspiration obviously as sometimes I get caught up in the excitement.

Mouse bee watching in the crossvine
Mouse bee watching in the crossvine

It was the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s death recently. I wondered: WWDD? Well, he might start with thinking about taxonomy. Where do the tiny monkeys fit into the grand scheme of things?

Being native to Texas, they must be new world monkeys. Since all the other New World Monkeys live in Central and South America I decided the tiny monkeys must be an entirely new species.

Pending approval I think the tiny monkeys can even be classed as an entirely new family. I base this on their unique body structures — note the floppy, soggy Bert arms.

I hope the scientific community will agree to called them: Exupidae.

Order: Primates
Family: Tarsiidae
Infraorder Platyrrhini (New World Monkeys)
Family: Exupidae

What about race? Is further classification necessary?

On the surface the tiny monkeys all look amazingly similar with very slight differences in fur color, face shapes and eye placement. I started to wonder if it were possible that the tiny monkeys could be divided along racial lines.

IMAGINE my SURPRISE when I discovered that RACE is a MYTH. The American Anthropological Association has been trying for decades to debunk this most pervasive and hurtful idea. While it makes sense to discuss ethnicity (learned and shared behaviors) there is no scientific evidence for the existence of races among humans.

Please see the AAA Statement on ‘Race” here. I assume what is true for humans probably applies to monkeys as well.

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11 thoughts on “R is for Race

  1. The categories that divide people seem like hard lines but in fact are fuzzy and full of holes. This reminds me of how certain states would define “negro” legally in terms of fractions of ancestry. Mississippi and Louisiana both used the “single drop of blood” approach, which held that any black ancestry at any point in the past made a person legally a “negro”. This led to a thriving blackmail business. In fact one theory has it that Huey Long was assassinated because he threatened to expose black ancestry within a prominent Louisiana family. In other states you had to have at least one black grandparent. For a really brilliant take on how groups that have been melding together for centuries become suddenly polarized, read Birds Without Wings by Louis Berniere. It is a novel dealing with the ethnic cleansing that occurred in Greece and Turkey at the end of the first world war.

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    1. I’ll second that book. Am two-thirds through it at the moment, and it’s heartbreakingly wonderful (like anything by Bernieres, really).

      Also, large parts of ‘From the Holy Mountain’, by William Dalrymple

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    2. Thank you for the recommendation! Of all the myths that humans have created this one probably has more supporters and the most firm believers.

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  2. The comments are usually the best part about this blogging business. =D
    Personally, I think we would all be better off if more people could learn to be as gentle as apes ….

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  3. I misread the title of the post at first and thought it said: ‘Taxidermy and monkeys’ I thought this blog is getting weirder. Mind you , inexpert taxidermy would explain the soggy arms.
    I think Darwin might be puzzled as to where your monkeys fit on the evolutionary scale. Mind you, they don’t fit anywhere if the earth is only 6000 years old.

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  4. R is for right on! Having long suspected Texas politics is run by monkeys – it is well within the realm of believability that we have our own actual species in residence. As a native daughter, I cast my vote to accept the Exupidae moniker. (Disclosure: I am not a professional scientist but at times I can be very science-y).

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    1. Of course, the political animals need their own family and species titles. Biggus dickus? — oh wait darn I think that one is taken already. We could of course focus on their incredibly tiny cranial capacity …

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