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Biology-Lecture 3 Chapter 6-The Living Primates Sep 25 2008

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University of Toronto St. George
Marcel Danesi

READING NOTES 09-25-08 Chapter 6: The Living Primates O The study of primates is to understand how different primates have adapted anatomically and behaviorally to their environments O Results of studies may help us to understand the behaviour and evolution of human primate O All primates, including humans, evolved from their earlier primates that are now extinct Common Primate Traits O All primates belong to the class Mammalia- share common features of mammals O Except for humans they, the bodies of primates are covered with dense hair or fur- provides insulation O Mammals- warm blooded O Almost all mammals give birth to offspring- develop in womb, nurse after birth Physical Features O Arboreal: adapted to living in trees O All primates hind limbs are structured- support and feet grasp things O Orangutans- flexible hind limbs that can support themselves from, withstanding pullingpushing O Hind limb- one bone in upper portion, two bones in lower portion O Double bone gives extensive mobility for rotating arms and legs O Clavicle Collarbone- freedom of movement- shoulders: updown, forwardback O Omnivores : eating both meat and vegetation (primates) O Molars: the large teeth behind the premolars at the back of the jaw; used for chewing and grinding food O Premolars: the teeth immediately behind the canines; used in chewing, grinding, and shearing food O Incisors: the front teeth; used for holding or seizing food and preparing it for chewing by the other teeth O Canines: the cone shaped teeth immediately behind the incisors; used most by most primates to seize food and in fighting and display O Prehensile: adapted for grasping objects- O Opposable Thumbs: a thumb that can touch the tips of all the other fingers- even more precisepowerful grip O Vision is extremely important to primate life- large part of brain devoted to vision (more than smell)- stereoscopic vision: eyes focused forward O Most primates also have colour vision O Large brain relative to body size O Male primates: pendulous penis- not attached to abdomen by skin O Female primates: 2 nipples, uterus- hold single fetus, not litter O Infant primates cling to mother from birth- take long time to mature Social Features O Diurnal: active during the day Dependency and Development in a Social Context O Social relationships begin with mother and other adults during long dependency periods of primates O Allows infants to observe and learn complex behaviours essential to survival while enjoying care and protection of mature adults O Without warm, social relationship w mother, or another individual do not appear to develop appropriate social skills Primates at Play O Play is important for learning O Provides practice for physical, social, learning skills Learning From Others
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