The world’s primates are in trouble

Update, 26/01/2017. As promised, here is the data from the supplement as a csv file. The data is exactly the same that appears in Tables S1 to S4. I simply put it into a useable table that includes all regions and family as separate columns for easier data wrangling. In the regions column, mlAfrica means mainland Africa.

Estrada et al 2017 dataset

Gorillas, monkeys and other primates must be saved from ‘impending extinction’, urge 31 scientists

The headline above comes from this article published in The Independent yesterday. The article summarizes the findings of this recent review paper, and I’m honored to be one of the 31 scientists behind the report that’s getting more media attention than we’ve been able to keep up with.

If you haven’t seen the paper or any of the coverage, this piece by Carl Zimmer sums it up quite well (how cool is it that one my favorite science writers has written about research that I’ve been involved with).

My involvement in the paper was mainly in the sections that relate phylogeny and extinction risk, but despite the large number of authors everyone was able to contribute to every section under the leadership of Alejandro Estrada and Paul Garber. I wrote this brief summary on the paper for the ZSL EDGE blog, also discussing how primate extinctions may wipe out unique branches of the mammalian tree of life.

It is probably worth noting that the Supplementary Materials file contains what is probably the most up-to-date primate taxonomy, complete with common names, threat status, population trends, body mass, and the number of Web of Science results for each species (up to March 2016). This is a huge deal.

This paper was a massive effort by so many dedicated primate researchers and conservation scientists, and I’m happy it’s getting so much attention. I even feel like a tourist among all these international experts. In fact, I still remember reading Russell Mittermeier’s 1997 book ‘Megadiversity’ as a student learning about my own country’s mammals, and now I can barely believe that my name appears next to his on the author list.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.