A monospecific antiserum against human corticosteroid binding globulin (hCBG) has been used to identify structural similarities between hCBG and CBG in the blood of other primates and representative species of different vertebrate classes. Double immunodiffusion analysis indicated that only CBG in Old World monkeys and apes cross-react with the hCBG antiserum. This was confirmed by a solid-phase radioimmunoassay for hCBG which also demonstrated that CBG in apes is immunologically identical to hCBG and that Old World monkey CBG comprises most, but not all, of the hCBG epitopes. The electrophoretic mobilities of human, gorilla and gibbon CBG were similar (RF 0·50–0·51), but differed from Old World monkey CBG (RF 0·44–0·49) and chimpanzee CBG (RF 0·47). Although serum/plasma cortisol binding capacities were similar in Old World primates, the dissociation half-times (t½) of cortisol were higher from human and ape CBG (18–25 min) than from Old World monkey CBG (14–18 min). The steroid binding specificities of human and ape (CBG corticosterone > cortisol > progesterone ≥ testosterone) were also different from those of Old World monkey CBG (corticosterone >> cortisol ≃ progesterone > testosterone). Lemur plasma cortisol binding capacity and CBG dissociation t½ of cortisol were similar to hCBG, but its steroid binding specificity was different (cortisol > corticosterone > progesterone ≥ testosterone) and it did not cross-react with the hCBG antiserum. We could not detect high affinity cortisol binding activity in blood samples from New World monkeys, and they did not cross-react with the hCBG antiserum. These results suggest that considerable modification in the steroid binding activity and structure of CBG has occurred since the evolutionary appearance of the primates, but that the rate of change decreased after the cladogenesis of Catarrhine primates.