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What does it mean to be biologically human?. Why are we such strange apes? January 24, 2005. “Carl” Linnaeus Classification system Hierarchical Binomial Genus species. Taxonomy. Human Taxonomy. Kingdom Animalia Animal Phylum Chordata Chordates

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what does it mean to be biologically human

What does it mean to be biologically human?

Why are we such strange apes?

January 24, 2005

taxonomy
“Carl” Linnaeus

Classification system

Hierarchical

Binomial

Genus

species

Taxonomy
human taxonomy
Human Taxonomy

Kingdom Animalia Animal

Phylum Chordata Chordates

Subphylum Vertebrata Vertebrates

Class Mammalia Mammals

Infraclass Eutheria Eutherians

Order Primates Primates

Suborder Anthropoidea Anthropoids

Infraorder Catarrhini Catarrhines

Superfamily Hominoidea Hominoids

Family Hominidae Hominids

Genus Homo Humans

Species Homo sapiens

Subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens

why look at primates
Why look at primates?
  • Homologies:
    • Genetics
    • Brain Structure
    • Biochemistry
    • General physiology
why look at primates5
Why look at primates?
  • Analogies: similar traits that arise if species experience similar selective forces and adapt to them in similar ways.
    • Feeding ecologies of terrestrial primates
major primate characteristics
Major Primate Characteristics
  • Grasping
  • Tactile Hands
  • Vision (stereoscopic)
  • Brain Complexity
  • Parental Investment
  • Sociality
what do non human primates look like
What do non-human primates look like?
  • Prosimians
    • Lemurs
    • Tarsiers
    • Bushbabies
    • Loris
    • Aye Aye
what do non human primates look like8
What do non-human primates look like?
  • New World Monkeys
    • Spider Monkey
    • Squirrel Monkey
    • Capuchin Monkey
    • Marmoset
    • Howler Monkey
what do non human primates look like9
What do non-human primates look like?
  • New World Monkeys have prehensile tails.
what do non human primates look like10
What do non-human primates look like?
  • Old World Monkeys
    • Baboons
    • Macaque
    • Langurs
    • Proboscis
    • Drills, Mandrills
what do non human primates look like12
What do non-human primates look like?
  • “Great” Apes
    • Orangutan
    • Gorilla
    • Chimpanzee
    • Bonobo
    • Humans
primates in macroevolutionary context
Primates in Macroevolutionary Context
  • Misconceptions:
    • Evolution is not teleological!
    • Diversity does not represent stages
    • All animals are equally “modern”
    • Evolution does not necessarily lead to smarter, stronger, or morally superior animals.
derived traits
Derived Traits
  • Compared to non-human primates, humans have:
    • Less fur
    • More technology
    • Bipedal Locomotion
what do non human primates teach us
What do non-human primates teach us?
  • Insights into fossil primates
    • Activity Patters (nocturnal, diurnal)
    • Locomotion
      • Quadrapeds, Knucklewalkers, Brachiators, Bipeds
    • Diet/Feeding Ecology
      • Insectivores, frugivores, folivores, carnivores, omnivores
what do non human primates teach us18
What do non-human primates teach us?
  • Feeding Ecology
  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • Mating Strategies
  • All Related
what females want
What Females “Want”
  • Offspring to survive
  • Reliable food supply
  • Help raising offspring
what males want
What Males “Want”
  • Sex (pass on genes=maximize fitness)
  • Avoid helping raise offspring when it interferes with further mating
feeding ecology and mating
Feeding Ecology and Mating
  • Females map onto food resources
  • Males map onto females
gibbons
Food Clumps

Easy for females to defend food

Easy for males to defend females

Result: Monogamy

Gibbons
orangutan
Food dispersed and highly seasonal

Females can’t defend resources (nomadic)

Males can’t defend females

Solitary, nomadic mating

Orangutan
gorillas
Large, dense food patches

Multiple females form a territorial group

One male can protect the group

One male polygyny

Gorillas
chimpanzees
Food is densely distributed and plentiful

No need for territoriality for females or males

Multi-male polygyny

Chimpanzees
sexual dimorphism
Sexual Dimorphism
  • Differences in body size between males and females
  • Highest when there is high competition between males for mates
  • In humans, suggests that sometime in pre-history humans were polygynous
sexual dimorphism27
Sexual Dimorphism
  • Monogamy: No Dimorphism
  • Multi-male polygyny: mild
  • Solitary mating: medium
  • Single male polygyny: extreme
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