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Lecture 20

Lecture 20 - Introduction to Primates

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Esteban Parra

ANT203Y5 – BiologicalAnthropology Lecture 20 – January 13, 2014 Introduction to Primates Aye-Aye Daubentonia madagascariensis - Highly endangered lemur from Madagascar Squirrel monkey - Lives in SouthAmerica Within Taxonomic Categories - Plesiadapiformes ▯ they are extinct - The tree shews are the closely related to the primates Traditional Classification - In traditional clasifications, you have two suborders o Anthropoidea includes monkeys and apes - Anthropoidea is a paraphyletic grouping ANT203Y5 – BiologicalAnthropology Lecture 20 – January 13, 2014 Phylogenetic Reconstruction - This is the most common classification used today - All monophyletic groupings Primate Characteristics 1) Pentadactylism - Primitive traits, you have 5 digits 2) Generalized limb structure, including retention of clavicle - Primates have generalized structures 3) Opposable thumb - You could see primates in general, needed in life in the trees 4) Tactile pads - Sensitivity 5) Nails on some or all digits 6) Tendency towards upright posture 7) Reduced sense of smell & accompanying area of brain 8) Increased reliance on sense of vision 9) Increased encephalization - Primates have big brains, especially when you consider body size 10) Extreme ‘k’selection (fewer offspring) - R selection  alternative of k, lots of offsprings, fast growth rate - K selection  birth rate is very low 11) Prolonged infant dependency & increased learning & socialization 12) Transfer of learned behaviors 13) Complex social groups 14) Complex forms of communication Two Theories of Primate Origins - Arboreal theory. o States that features observed in primates are the result of an adaptive shift from ground-living existence to life in the trees. o In this new environment, stereoscopic vision (and less reliance on smell), grasping hand and feet, good eye-hand coordination and a large brain would be advantageous. ANT203Y5 – BiologicalAnthropology Lecture 20 – January 13, 2014 - Visual predation theory (Cartmill, 1974). o Binocular vision, good grasping capabilities, and highly refined eye-hand coordination are adaptations for insect hunting in low branches. ABrief Review of Primate Features - Stereoscopic vision and reduced sense of smell - Adaptations in hands and feet - Primate crania - Dentition - Diet and digestive systems - Locomotion - Activity patterns - Other primate features Binocular Stereoscopic Vision - Very good vision - Typically predators like this - Preys are more successful in the trees Primate Hands and Feet - Primates have generally grasping and opposable thumbs (pollex) in their hands, and in most species, also a divergent and partially opposable big toe (hallux). - They have tactile pads at the end of fingers and toes, which confer a refined sense of touch. - Primates commonly have nails instead of claws. However, there are some exceptions to this, particularly in prosimians (grooming claws in second toes) and some
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