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Chapter 2

ANTH 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Western Lowland Gorilla, Prehensility, Tropical Asia

Course Code
ANTH 100
Mc Guire Erin- Lee

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Primatology: the study of non-human primates behaviour & social life
humans share 98% DNA with chimpanzees & bonobos
have adapted to many different environments = many different adaptations
~200-350 species
evolutionary trends:
-increased brain size/complexity
-reduction of facial projection
-reduction in sense of smell
-increased dependence on sight
-fewer teeth
Homologies: similarities that come from a common ancestor
principle factors in determining organism’s taxonomic category
Analogies: similarities that arise from adapting to similar selective pressures
convergent evolution
Anthropomorphism: attributing human characteristics & purposes
Importance of understanding human primates:
provides an understanding of our place in the world
humans are not as unique as we may think
make inferences about the conditions in which evolution evolves
explain various ways of adopting to our environment biologically
how various primates adapt to similar circumstances in different ways
how humans & our strategies came to be
how early humans may have lived
how human culture may have evolved
evolutionary biology
issues related to diet & biology
conserving primate diversity, their habitats & environment sustainability
critically evaluating ideas about humans, other primates & the past
if similar behaviours can be observed among contemporary populations &
our closest relatives (primates), it is a good indication that our human ancestors
behaved the same way
Characteristics of primates:
prehensile (ability to grasp) hands & feet
nails instead of claws
forward facing eyes = excellent depth-perception
large brains (relative to rest of body size)
single offspring
long period of infant dependancy
diurnal: active during the day
arboreal: spend most of their time in trees
social & live in groups
generalized dentition = non-specialized diets
generalized body plan = move in a variety of ways
-brachiate: arm-over-arm swinging
-bipedal: 2-legged locomotive, freeing the hands for carrying
-knuckle-walking: chimpanzees walking on all 4, placing the
knuckles of their curled fingers on the ground
-quadripedalism: the movement of all 4 limbs (monkey’s shoulders)
Primate Taxonomy:
1. Strepsirhini: “wet-nose” - a suborder of primates that lack the full set of
distinguishing characteristics (ex. lemurs & lorises)
greater reliance on olfaction (sense of smell)
larger snout & rhiharium (the fleshy part at the end of the nose)
more prognathism (face projection)
some may be nocturnal
may have multiple births
retain a claw in addition to finger nails & toe nails
limited prehensility
some may lack colour vision
frontal cone teeth
small in size (9kg - 30g)
Tropical Asia & mainland Africa, Madagascar & southeast coast of Africa
2. Haplorhini: “dry-nose” - a suborder of primates including all monkeys,
apes & humans
worse olfaction = primarily use sight over scent
no rhiharium
less prognathism
none are nocturnal
multiple births are rare
tons of nerve endings = sensitive touch
larger brains
parental investment
split into two infraorders
(1) Platyrrhini: primate infraorder, commonly knows as “new-world
monkeys” - monkeys of Central & South America (ex. spider monkey)
flat nose with nostrils flaring outward
prehensile tails
smaller in size
exhibit relatively little sexual dimorphism
2-1-3-3 dentition
pair bonded
no opposable thumbs
tropical & subtropical regions of Central & South America
(2) Catarrhini: primate infraorder known as “old-world monkeys” -
monkeys of Africa Asia & Europe, as well as apes & humans
narrow nose with closely spaced downward-facing nostrils
no prehensile tails (sometimes no tails at all)
arboreal & terrestrial
larger in size
pronounced sexual dimorphism
2-1-2-3 dentition
flat finger & toenails
split into two superfamilies
(I) Ceropithecoidea: “old-world monkeys”
non-prehensile tails
small brains
smaller body size
less developed shoulders
(II) Hominoidea: a superfamily of the infraorder Catarrhini that
includes apes & humans
larger body size
extended ontogeny (the development of an individual from
conception to maturity)
larger & more developed brains
more developed shoulders (enabling brachiation)
there are 2 different ways of sub-dividing into superfamilies
(i) Hylobatidae: “lesser apes” - gibbons & siamangs
small brachiators (allows gibbons to walk bipedally)
not sexually dimorphic
bi-parental care
joint territory defence
Southeast Asia
(ii) Hominidea: “great apes” - divided into subfamilies
(a) Ponginae: orangutans
(b) Gorillinae: gorillas
-large, undefined foraging territories
-troops dominantly led by males
-sexual dimorphic
-four different types:
(c) Homininae: humans, chimpanzees & bonobos
(1) Panini: chimpanzees & bonobos
(2) Homoinini: the most advanced grade of
primate evolution, which includes the bipedal
hominoid, humans & near-humans
Anthropology Chapter 2 - Primates
can live ~40-45 years in the wild
arboreal & terrestrial foragers
large multi-male/female groups
strong, aggressive & territorial
clack hair & pink laces
bald & go grey as they age
robust & muscular
can live ~40 years in the wild
no concrete evidence of hunting
& tool use
egalitarian (female led troops)
large multi-sex & age groups
black hair & black faces
leaners & more narrow
extremely sexual & peaceful
more likely to walk bipedally
A. Western subspecies
1) Western Lowland Gorilla
2) Cross River Gorilla
B. Eastern subspecies
3) Mountain Gorilla
4) Eastern Lowland Gorilla
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