The Living Primates


The Living Primates
The Living Primates
Chapter 7
The Order of Primates
• 230 species grouped into two suborders of
nonhuman primates
• Strepsirrhini – wet-nosed primates
• Includes all non-tarsier prosimians
• Lemurs, galagos and lorises
• Haplorhini – dry nosed primates
• Includes tarsiers and simians
• Tarsiers, monkeys and apes
• Living primates are not “better” than their
• Each possesses qualities that make it more
adapted to a particular environment
Hands and Feet
• Grasping
• Primates have five digit feet and hands
• Tactile pads and nails
• Flexible hands and feet arboreal origins
• Humans and many other primates have opposable
• Thumb can touch other fingers
• May originate from insect eating
• Feet
• Most primates have grasping feet
• Shift to bipedal locomotion
• Walking on two feet eliminates useful foot grasping
Smell, Touch, and Sight
• Smell to Sight
• Shift from reliance on smell to reliance on sight
• Stereoscopic vision – overlapping sight giving to depth
• Monkey, Apes and Humans
• Prosimians also generally lack color vision
• Night vision
• Nose to Hand
• In primates, the main “touch” organ is the hand
Stereoscopic (Binocular) Vision
Primate Brain and Skull
• Brain Complexity
• More brain tissue used
for thought and memory
than most other
• High brain size to body
size ratio
• Parental Investment
• Most primates give birth to
single offspring
• Primates require and
receive more attention as
• More opportunities for
• The skull of a male baboon
compared with that of a red wolf
• Note the forward-facing eyes
above the snout in the baboon,
and the lateral position of the
eyes of the wolf
General Primate Behavior
• Primates show a great deal of behavioral flexibility and the
ability to learn from experience
• Longer period of dependency of offspring
• Great amount of parental investment
• Social groups and permanent association of adult males
• Mostly diurnal – primarily active during the day
• Most are arboreal - no nonhuman primate is fully terrestrial
• All spend some time in the trees
• Gathering
• Sleeping
Growth and Development
• The primates are
characterized by the
prolongation of gestation,
during which the fetus
grows rapidly
• Primates are also
characterized by a long
childhood period and a
prolonged life span
The Living Primates
• The Primate order
• Divided into 2 suborders
• The Prosimii (prosimians)
• The Anthropoidea (anthropoids)
• The suborder Prosimii is divided into 2 infraorders
• The Lemuriformes (lemurs, lorises)
• The Tarsiiformes (tarsiers)
• The suborder Anthropoidea is divided into 2 infraorders
• The Platyrrhini (New World monkeys)
• The Catarrhini (Old World monkeys, apes, humans)
• The most primitive of the primates.
• Characteristics:
Reliance on olfaction
Laterally placed eyes
Shorter gestation and maturation
Dental specialization called the "dental comb”
• Moist, fleshy pad at the end of the nose
• Enhances ability to smell
• Survived competition in some regions due to nocturnal living
• Less competition with anthropoids
• Lemur isolation
The Lemuriformes
• Larger lemurs are diurnal and eat vegetable foods
• Smaller lemurs are nocturnal and insectivorous
• All prosimians possess second toes that end in grooming claws
• Lemuriformes live on the island of Madagascar (lemur, indri,
aye-aye) and on the mainland of Africa and Asia (loris, potto,
Lemur Dental Comb
• Formed by forwardprojecting incisors
and canines
The Tarsiiformes
• Characteristics:
Small stature
Nocturnal, with large eyes
Clinging and leaping
Social pattern of a mated pair and
their offspring
• Tarsiers possess grooming claws, but
lack a dental comb
• Range:
• Tarsiers are found in Southeast Asia
• Islands of southeast Asia
Primate Distribution
• Monkeys, Apes and Humans
• Common traits:
• Larger brain and body size
• Reduced reliance on the sense of smell
• Greater degree of color vision
• Bony plate at the back of the eye socket
• Different female reproductive anatomy
• Longer gestation and maturation periods
• 85% of all primate species
• New World monkeys
• Old World monkeys
Infraorder Platyrrhini
• New World Monkeys
• Monkeys of southern Mexico, Central American, and South
• 70 species
• Almost exclusively arboreal
• Tend to be smaller than Old World Monkeys
• Many have prehensile tails
• Thumb is grasping, but not opposable
• The platyrrhine nose
• One nocturnal species
Owl Monkey
• Two families
• Callitrichidae (marmosets, tamarins) and Cebidae (spider
monkeys, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys)
• Common Marmoset - Callithrix
• Geoffery’s Spider Monkey - Ateles
• Venezuelan Red Howler - Alouatta
Infraorder Catarrhini
• Old World Monkeys, Apes, and Humans
• Characterized by:
• The catarrhine nose
• Two premolars per quadrant of the mouth
• A well-developed thumb that in most cases is
• This infraorder is divided into two superfamilies
• Cercopithecoidea is composed of the Old World
• Hominoidea includes the apes and humans
Superfamily Cercopithecoidea
• The Old World Monkeys
• Habitats range from tropical forests to semiarid desert to snowcovered areas in Japan and China
• Mostly quadrupedal and arboreal
• Divided into subfamilies:
Baboons, macaques, and guenons
Some are terrestrial
Cheek pouches
Ischial callosities
Mostly in Africa
African colobus monkeys and Asian langurs
Herbivorous leaf eaters
• Mandrill - Mandrillus sphinx
• Japanese Macaque - Macaca fuscata
• De Brazza's monkey - Cercopithecus
Superfamily Hominoidea
• Hominoids
• Characteristics distinguishing hominoids from monkeys:
Larger body size
Absence of a tail
Shortened trunk
More complex behavior
More complex brain
Increased period of infant development
• The family Hylobatidae (Lesser Apes)
• Gibbon and siamang
• The family Hominidae (Great Apes)
• Orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo and humans
Gibbons and Siamangs
• Found in the tropical
areas of SE Asia
• Diet
• Fruits, leaves, flowers, and
• Society
• Monogamous pair and
• Males and females
delineate their
territories with
whoops and “songs”
Orangutans and Gorillas
• Orangutans
• Belong to the subfamily Ponginae
• Borneo and Sumatra
• 40,000 Borneans (P. pygmaeus)
• 7,000 Sumatrans (P. abelii)
• Gorillas
• Belong to the subfamily Gorillinae
• One large silverback male, a few
adult females, and their young
• Confined to forested areas of
western and eastern equatorial
• Western Gorilla (G. gorilla)
• Western lowland (G. g. gorilla)
• Cross River (G. g. diehli)
• Eastern Gorilla (G. beringei)
• Mountain (G. b. beringei)
• Eastern lowland (G. b. graueri)
Subfamily Homininae
• Tribe Panini
• Chimpanzees (P. troglodytes) and bonobos (P. paniscus)
• Found in Equatorial Africa
• Chimpanzees
• Large communities of as many as 50 individuals
• Eat a variety of plant and animal foods
• Bonobos
• Male-female bonds constitute the societal core
• Only a few thousand, found South of the Congo (Zaire) River
• Sexuality
• Includes frequent copulations
• Uses: Greetings, forming social bonds, exchange, and conflict resolution
• Only non-human animal to engage in tongue kissing, face-to-face, and oral sex
• Tribe Hominini
• Humans
• Chimpanzee - Pan troglodytes
• Bonobo – Pan paniscus

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