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Biology-Lecture 4 Chapter 7-Primate Evolution From Early Primates to Hominoids Oct 3 2008

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Marcel Danesi

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Reading Notes 10-03-08 Chapter 7: Primate Evolution: From Early Primates To Hominoids Interpreting The Fossil Record O Dentition: the type, number, and arrangement of teeth O Arboreal Quadrupeds: front and back limbs of the same length, grasping toes and fingers O Terrestrial Quadrupeds: more adopted to speed, longer limbs, shorter fingers and toes O Vertical Clingers and Leapers: longer more powerful hind limbs O Brachiators: longer forelimbs The Emergence of Primates O Paleocene Epoch: the geological epoch 65 million to 55 million years ago O Plesiadapis: the most well known of the Plesiadipiforms, possibly an archaic primate; squirrel like animal, large snout, incisors, nasal cavity, eye orbits (side of head), claws, no grasping handsfeet, Not a primate! O Eocene: a geological epoch 55 million to 34 million years ago during which the first definite primates appeared O Adapids: led to modern lemurs and lorises and the mommies led to tarsiers and anthropoids O Omomyids: larger brain, poster orbital closure around eyes, short face O Carpolestes: A mouse-sized arboreal creature living about 56 million years ago; a strong candidate for the common primate ancestor; lacks stereoscopic vision, nails instead of claws, big toes, grasping hands, feet, common ancestor of all primates The Environment O Cretaceous: geological epoch 135 million to 65 million years ago, during which dinosaurs and other reptiles ceased to be dominant land vertebrates and mammals and birds began to become important O Damp, mild, temps began to fall by end of era O Seasonal and geographic fluctuations in temp began to develop O Climate became much drier in many areas, vast swamp lands disappeared O Continental Drift: the movement of continents over the past 135 million years. In the early Cretaceous (about 135 million years ago) there was two super continents: Laurisa, which included NA and Eurasia, and Gondwanaland, which included Africa, SA, India, Australia, and Antarctica. By the beginning of the Paleocene (about 65 million years ago) Gondwanaland had broken apart, with some SA drifting west away from Africa, India Drifting east, and Australia and Antarctica drifting south O As continents changed position, they moved into locations with different climate conditions O Large land masses affect wind and weather patterns differently than smaller land masses O When continents collide mountain ranges are formed (dry conditions on one sidewet on the other) O When the locations of continents prevents the movement of ocean currents from the tropics to the poles, the earths climate becomes colder O When climate changes so does vegetation O Paleocene era- large trees w large fruits and seeds O New species of animals evolved as the climate and environment changed O Deciduous trees, flowering plants O Insectivore: the order or major grouping of mammals including modern shrews and moles, that is adapted to feeding on insects What in Particular May Have Favored the Emergence of Primates O Arboreal Theory: primates evolved from insectivores that took to the trees O Taking of trees favored vision over smell
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