Chapter 5 introduction to the primates
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Chapter 5: Introduction to the Primates. Why do anthropologists study primates? To understand human evolution by: Homology The same adaptations in close relatives offer clues to design structures in ancestral and contemporary human populations (culture?) Analogy

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Chapter 5 introduction to the primates
Chapter 5: Introduction to the Primates

  • Why do anthropologists study primates?

    • To understand human evolution by:

      • Homology

        • The same adaptations in close relatives offer clues to design structures in ancestral and contemporary human populations (culture?)

      • Analogy

        • How do other primates respond to the same and different environmental pressures?


Derived traits
Derived Traits

  • Opposable Thumbs

  • Nails (no claws)

  • Hind limb dominated locomotion

  • Reduced sense of smell

  • Increase importance of sight (stereoscopic vision)

  • Small litters

  • Large Brain

  • Unspecialized teeth



Chapter 5 introduction to the primates

Two types (suborder):

  • Prosimians: VCL, Lemurs (Madagascar), Aya-ayes, Lorises, & Galagos.

  • Anthropoides: Old and New World Monkey and Apes (humans)

    (see table 5-3)


New world monkeys
New World Monkeys

  • Marmosets and tamarins (small bodied)

    • Twins

    • Polyandry

    • Monogamous families with alloparental care

  • Others:

    • Howlers

    • Spider

    • Wooly

    • Squirrel

    • Capuchins (tool users)

    • Night monkeys (owl monkey)

    • others


Old world monkeys
Old World Monkeys

  • Colobus & Lagurs (harems)

  • Macaques, baboons & vervets (multi-male and multi-female, female phylopatry)

  • Apes

    • Lack tails

    • Bigger brains

    • Y-Shaped pattern on lower molar



Great apes
Great Apes: Monogamous)

  • Gorilla (Africa, polygamous harems)


Chapter 5 introduction to the primates

Orangutans Monogamous)

(Asia, solitary, home range, rape )


Common chimps africa promiscuous multi male and multi female
Common Chimps Monogamous) (Africa, promiscuous, multi-male and multi-female)


Chapter 5 introduction to the primates

Bonobos “Pygmy Chimps” (Africa, very promiscuous, multi-male and multi-female, matriarchal)


Chimps and humans are our closest relatives 98 4 genes
Chimps and Humans are our closest relatives (98.4% Genes) multi-male and multi-female, matriarchal)