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Lecture Goals
Basic morphological features of fossil primates.
General patterns of morphology and phylogenetics for fossil primates.
What a hominin is in terms of taxonomy
Morphological trends in hominin evolution:
Bipedalism
Expansion in brain size
Changes in dental/cranial features
Due to instructor evaluations, we may not get through everything tonight.
Time Frame and Climate
-Major Epochs during Tertiary Period (changes in middle of earth as deeper and deeper)
Paleocene “Primates
-Geography and climate.
-Very different from present-day conditions.
-Hotter, more humid.
Paleocene & Primate-like Mammals: Plesiadapiformes (look like squirrels)
-Body Size: tiny, shrew-sized to size of small dog.
-Niche: Likely solitary, nocturnal quadrupeds; well-developed sense of smell.
-Diet: insects and seeds.
-Used to be classified as primates because of primate-like teeth and limbs that are adapted
for arboreal lifestyle.
Recent: Plesiadapids NOT Primates
-No postorbital bar,
-Claws instead of nails,
-Eyes placed on side of head, &
-Enlarged incisors.
More Recent: Plesiadapids & Few Others ARE Primates.
-Primates likely evolved before them
Eocene
-More separation for continents/countries
-Ice masses form, world gets drier, oceans shrink and plants dont form as well
Two Main Eocene Primate Families
-1). Adapidae
-Body size: 100 g to 6900g. Diurnal and nocturnal forms.
oMainly arboreal quadrupeds, some may have been specialized leapers.
oSmaller adapids ate mostly fruit and insects, larger forms ate fruit and leaves.
oLed to lemurs?? ?(similarity doesnt equate with close phylogenetic relationship)
-2). Omomyidae
oBody size of 45 g to 2500 g. Some nocturnal others diurnal.
oOmomyids thought to been specialized leapers.
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Document Summary

Major epochs during tertiary period (changes in middle of earth as deeper and deeper) Paleocene & primate-like mammals: plesiadapiformes (look like squirrels) Body size: tiny, shrew-sized to size of small dog. Niche: likely solitary, nocturnal quadrupeds; well-developed sense of smell. Used to be classified as primates because of primate-like teeth and limbs that are adapted for arboreal lifestyle. Eyes placed on side of head, & More recent: plesiadapids & few others are primates. Ice masses form, world gets drier, oceans shrink and plants don"t form as well . Diurnal and nocturnal forms: mainly arboreal quadrupeds, some may have been specialized leapers, smaller adapids ate mostly fruit and insects, larger forms ate fruit and leaves, led to lemurs?? (similarity doesn"t equate with close phylogenetic relationship) World looks more like today but not quite . Three (3) haplorhine features: fused frontal bone, full postorbital closure, & fused. Three taxonomic groups: parapithecidae, propliopithecidae, and platyrrhini.

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