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ANTH - Anthropology
ANTH 110
Abigal Adams

Primates: Introduction to Anthropology primates will eat bananas stem side down (actually the correct way, it’s easier) Primates- and order divided into two groups: -Prosimians- “wet-noses” - examples: Lemurs, Lorises, Indris -Anthropoids- “dry noses” - example: new and old world monkeys, apes and humans 1)Platyrrhines- New world, broad noses, prehensile tail (grasping tail, primate hangs from tree with it) 2)Catarrhines- Old world monkeys (Africa, Asia, Europe), narrow nose, non-prehensile tail. Early Primates - Probably emerged in the late Cretaceous, or about 100 million years ago to 65 MYA (million years ago) - Environmental transition from Mesozoic to Cenozoic era – during this era large trees with large fruit became common- new type of plant life was a new environment to inhabit. - Early primates evolved in a rainforest environment at a time when rainforests covered most of the earth (prehensile tails= very adaptive) Why did we “come down from the trees”, Humans don’t have tails… - Early primates evolved in a rainforest environment at a time when rainforests covered most of the earth Climates of the Past - In the early Cretaceous (135 MYA) the continents were clumped together into two large landmasses: Laurasia (N. America and Eurasia) and Gondwanaland (Africa, S. American, India, Australia, and Antarctica) - At the Beginning of the Paleocene (65 MYA) Gondwanaland broke apart through continental drift Deep Time (good to know for a geology class, not necessary for anthropology class) Pleistocene- present to 1.6 MYA Pliocene 1.6 to 5.2 MYA Miocene 5.2 to 24 MYA Oligocene 24 to 34 MYA Eocene 34 to 55 MYA Paleocene 55 to 65 MYA * Mass Extinction with K-T Boundary * Late Cretaceous 65 to 100 MYA K-T boundary mass extinction - About 75% of all animal and plants that lived in the last part of the Cenozoic (the lake Cretaceous) went extinct by the early Paleocene (i.e. dinosaurs) important time for mammals and primates, survived and expanded over earth surface - Primates survived the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary asteroid impact (This is called the K-T Boundary) about 65.5 MYA (meteor exploded, killed many plants (dinosaur food) kills dinosaurs etc. small animals have a better chance to survive because they consume less calories.) Luis Alvarez - In 1980, Luis Alvarez identified a sedimentary layer found all across the globe that contained a high concentration of iridium. - Iridium is an element that is rare on the earth’s surface but abundant in asteroids and comets. Alvarez Hypothesis - Alvarez suggested that an asteroid struck the earth at the time of the Cretaceous(K)- Tertiary(T) boundary *Chicxulub Crater Identified in 1990 - Based on analysis, the Alvarez team estimated the asteroid to be the size of Manhattan - K-T Boundary is a layer of rock and ash that covers the earth Tertiary Period of “The Age of Mammals” - Primates thrived and diversified in the Tertiary period - The Tertiary period of the Cenozoic Era. The Tertiary period began 65 MYA and ended 1.8 MYA *Check out various graphics on power point* - The Tertiary period is composed of 5 Epochs: Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene Primate evolution during the Tertiary/Quaternary period was closely tied to global climate changes - The first part of the Tertiary was much warmer than now, and tropical rainforests were much more extensive - In the later part of the Tertiary/Quaternary, these were global cooling and drying, and global climate became more unstable. (ice ages) - An early period of warmer, wetter global climates followed by cooling and drying - These long term climate changes caused first the expansion and then the shrinkage of the primary primate habitat: tropical rainforest - The earliest primates resembled Prosimians - Anthropoid primates evolved in tropical and temperate forests, about 35 MYA during the Oligocene epoch Later Miocene rainforest habitat was reduced - Some ancestral primate species adapted themselves to temperate forests, open woodland and savannah habitats - The Hominoids – Terrestrial or ground apes (not only humans adapted to ground living, after rainforest began to shrink) - Terrestrial locomotion produced larger body size - Large body size allows an animal to cover more ground more quickly and efficiently while getting food - Shift to a more omnivorous diet, nutrient dense packages like fruit, tubers, nuts, small animals. - Large bodied, semi-terrestrial apes set the stage for the first hominids Most Primates: - Are arboreal (live in trees) - Have an Omnivorous Diet- eat both plants and animals (insects, small animals, fruits, seeds, leaves, and roots) have hunting parties and will lay traps for other animals. - Have opposable thumbs - Are Diurnal – active during the day - Are social animals (dependent, play) Primate Traits: Primates are distinguished from other mammals by several derived traits: - Development of grasping hands and feet - Vision becomes a dominant sense (over small) - Tendency to use hand as exploratory organ - Tendency to reduce litter size - Increase in brain size relative to body size - Dependence on life and social groups (humans are obviously very social) Arboreal Theory: Theory that primates evolved from insectivores that started to live in trees (Notharctus: A lemur like primate form the Eocene (55 MYA)) - Problem: tree squirrel – eyes are not front-fa
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