Quote: Colin Groves on primate species

In 2001, the Australian zoologist Colin Groves published an essay in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology giving his perspective on classification in primates: “Why Taxonomic Stability Is a Bad Idea, or Why Are There So Few Species of Primates (Or Are There?)”. The essay is historically interesting. Groves was known as one of the premier taxonomic splitters in the study of mammals.

The first edition of the Smithsonian's Mammal Species of the World listed 181 species of the order Primates. The second edition had 233 species. The new “Bible,” Groves’ Primate Taxonomy, (2001) has 356. What is going on? And have we reached maximum yet?

Today there are more than 500 named species and subspecies of primates. Groves remained one of the scientists most connected to increasing the recognition of species until the end of his life in 2017.