Graphic from University College of London, Anthropology Department

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Illustrations 1993, 1994 by Bruce Pearson
in Animals of the World
used by permission of Running Press Book Publishers


Field Guide Artistry Permits Species Comparisons


Four species of African Vervet Monkeys are illustrated at right. From top to bottom they are:

  • Vervet Monkey     -- Chlorocebus pygerythrus
  • Tantalus Monkey -- Chlorocebus tantalus
  • Green Monkey       -- Chlorocebus sabaeus
  • Grivet Monkey      -- Chlorocebus aethiops

The artwork at right has been enlarged by about 50% over the size appearing in a small field guide. By using illustrations rather than photographs, the artist is able to convey an excellent idea of the differences between species or subspecies. Fine details of pelage, scrotal coloration, forehead stripe, eye-ring and other features may be shown. However, even more examples might be given to illustrate gender, age and geographic variations.

Compare these drawings with the photographs of all the species of this genus on the Chlorocebus Species page to decide whether you learn more from drawings or photos. Photographs are more common on the Internet.



Five Species of Colobids -- Another African Group



 


The five species of Colobids shown here include:
Black Colobus
Colobus satanas
Angolan Colobus
Colobus angolensis
Abyssinian Colobus
Colobus guereza
Red Colobus
Colobus badius
Olive Colobus
Procolobus verus


Usually, all the illustrations on one plate of a field guide will be drawn to the same scale, so it is easy to estimate differences in size between the species. Photographs, even when shown on the same page, rarely offer this convenience.

Try comparing the illustrations of the Angolan and Abyssinian Colobuses with photographs of them (use the links to photos in the listing of Old World Monkeys). The photographs tend to obscure the differences in the white markings in most cases. But because most mammals face the camera when being photographed, you get a different appreciation of their personality.

Good Illustrations Bring Animals to Life

Remember how important scaling of size can be. The Tarsiers shown at left are much smaller animals than those in the two plates shown above. They can rotate their heads nearly 360.  From the top down these are:

    • The Philippine Tarsier     -- Tarsius syrichta
    • Sulawesi or E. Tarsier      -- Tarsius spectrum
    • Horsfield's or W. Tarsier -- Tarsius bancanus
Swinging Artwork Shows Brachiation

Lar Gibbons, Hylobates lar, can brachiate (swing forward from branch to branch by hand) up to 30 feet at a time, faster than you can run.


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