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ANT 301 (31)
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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Notes

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ANT 301

1 Chapter 6:An Overview of the Primates Primates- members of the mammalian order Primates which include lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans Anthropoids- members of the primate infraorderAnthropoidea; traditionally this group includes monkeys apes, and humans Characteristics that set primates apart (general): - A tendency toward an erect posture, especially in the upper body - A flexible, generalized limb structure which allows most primates to practice various locomotor behaviors - Prehensile hands and sometimes feet (manipulate objects) - Retention of five digits on the hands and feet - An opposable thumb and in most species, a divergent and partially opposable big toe - Nails instead of claws - Tactile pads enriched with sensory nerve fibers at the ends of digits - Lack of dietary specialization (most primates are omnivorous) - A generalized dentition (aren’t specialized for processing only one type of food) - Color vision (nocturnal primates don’t though) - Depth perception (ability to perceive objects in three dimensions) - Eyes placed toward the front of the face (not to the sides) - Visual information from each eye transmitted to visual centers in both hemispheres of the brain - Visual information organized into three dimensional imaged by specialized structure in the brain itself - Decreased reliance on the sense of smell - Expansion and increased complexity of the brain - A more efficient means of fetal nourishment, longer periods of gestation, reduced numbers of offspring, delayed maturation, and extension of the entire life span - A greater dependence on flexible, learned behavior - The tendency to live in social groups and the permanent association of adult males with the group - The tendency toward diurnal activity patterns Omnivorous- having a diet consisting of many food types such as plant materials, meat, and insects Diurnal- active during the day Nocturnal- active during the night Stereoscopic vision- the condition whereby visual images are to varying degrees superimposed; this provides for depth perception, or viewing the external environment in three dimensions; stereoscopic vision is partly a function of structures in the brain 2 Binocular vision- vision characterized by overlapping visual fields provided by forward-facing eyes; binocular vision is essential to depth perception Hemispheres- the two halves of the cerebrum that are connected by a dense mass of fibers Olfaction- the sense of smell Neocortex- the more recently evolved portion of the brain that’s involved in higher mental functions and composed of areas that
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