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Chapter 6


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Genevieve Dewar

Prashanthan Oct/02/2012 Primates Ch.6  Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans are apes, NOT monkeys o Closest relatives to humans Primate Characteristics General Primate Characteristics  Limbs and Locomotion o Tendency toward an erect posture o Flexible, generalized limb structure allowing numerous forms of movement o Prehensile hands, and sometimes feet (allowing manipulation of objects)  5 digits on hands and feet  Opposable thumb, and in most species, divergent and partially opposable big toe  Nails instead of claws  Tactile pads enriched with sensory nerve fibers at ends of digits  Diet and Teeth o Lack of dietary specialization (omnivorous) o Generalized dentition, allowing primates to eat a variety of food  Senses and the Brain (dependent on vision more than other senses) o Colour vision (nocturnal primates don’t have color vision tho) o Depth perception  Eyes placed toward front of face (not side) allows for binocular vision (overlapping fields of vision)  Visual info from each eye transmitted to visual centers in both hemispheres of brain  Visual info organized into 3-D images by specialized structures in the brain (stereoscopic vision) o Decreased reliance on sense of smell o Expansion and increased complexity of brain  Maturation, learning and behavior o More efficient means of fetal nourishment, longer periods of gestation, fewer offspring, delayed maturation, extension of lifespan o Greater dependence on flexible learning behavior o Tendency to live in social groups and permanent association of adult males with group o Tendency toward diurnal (active during the day) activity patterns Primate Adaptations  Characteristics shared by primate resulted from arboreal living (living in trees) 1 Prashanthan Oct/02/2012 o Other animals lived in trees found food on ground, but primates found all of their dietary needs in trees, which lead to omnivory  Primates may have developed above characteristics upon diversification of flowering plants o Require forward-facing eyes, grasping hands/feet, omnivory and color vision b/c of higher demand of visual and tactile prowess  Non-human primates found typically in tropical/subtropical areas  Spend some (if not all) of their time in trees, especially when sleeping  4 kinds of teeth o Incisors and canines (for biting and cutting) o Premolars and molars (for grinding and chewing)  Dental Formula: numerical device that indicates the # of each type of tooth in each side of upper and lower jaw o eg. is dental formula for human (2 incisors, 1 canine, 2 premolars, 3 molars)  Almost all primates are quadrupedal (use all 4 limbs during locomotion)  Brachiation: arm swinging form of locomotion o Seen in species with longer arms than legs Primate Classification  2 suborders of primates o Strepsirhini (lemurs and lorises) o Haplorhini (apes, humans, monkeys, tarsiers)  Comparitive Genomics: making direct comparisons of genetic makeup of diff species o Gives us an understanding of evolutionary and biological relationships b/w species A Survey of the Living Primates Lemurs and Lorises  More anatomically similar to earlier mammalian ancestor than other primates o Greater reliance on olfaction (smell)  Long snout, rhinarium (moist, hairless pad at end of nose: enhances ability to smell)  Diff in reproductive physiology, shorter gestation/maturation period, eyes placed near side of face  Dental comb forward-projection of lower incisors and canines o Modified for grooming/feeding  Lemurs o Found in Madagascar, and adjacent islands o Numerous ecological niches due to lack of non-human primate competition o Larger lemurs typically diurnal eat leaves, fruits, buds, bark o Smaller lemurs typically nocturnalinsectivores o Some are quadrupeds, some are vertical clingers and leapers 2 Prashanthan Oct/02/2012  Lorises o Nocturnalavoid competition with diurnal primates o Locomotion: slow, cautious quadrupeds o Insectivorous, herbivorous  Tarsiers o Nocturnal, insectivorous o Leap from lower branches/shrubs o Have a complex blend of characteristics (once believed to be more related to lemurs/lorises) o Eyes
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