October 23, 2012.
Lecture 7 – What is a Primate?
What is a primate?
Members of mammalian order Primates
Includes lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes
Class, order, genus, species
Order Primates: Strepsirhini and Haplorhini
Strepsirhini: Lemurs and Lorises
Haplorhini: Tarsiers, Old world monkeys, New World Monkeys, … etc.
Helpful Hints for Remembering Classification
Superfamily – ends in “oidea”
Family – ends in “idae”
Subfamily – ends in “inae”
Primates are Generalized
Generalized = traits that are flexible and can be adapted for many functions
Retained several ancestral mammalian traits
o E.g. number of digits
Limbs and Locomotion
o Erect posture
Associated with sitting, leaping, standing, and bipedal walking
o Flexible, generalized limb structure
Allows primates to practice various locomotor behaviours
E.g. rotation of forearm
o Prehensile (adapted for grasping) hands (and sometimes feet)
Allows for grasping and manipulation of objects
o Five digits (pentadactyly)
Exception: Muriquis (new world, lives in central and south America)
Opposable thumb (other than muriquis)
Nails instead of claws
Tactile pads on ends of digits
Exception: aye aye has claws
Diet and Teeth
o Generalized diet (can eat a wide range of foods)