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ORDER: PRIMATES. Monkeys, Apes, Prosimians, and Us. Primate Evolutionary History. Primate Evolutionary History. The origin of the order is commonly given as 65 MYA (million years ago) Some estimates go back to 85 MYA. Purgatorius unio.

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order primates


Monkeys, Apes, Prosimians, and Us

primate evolutionary history1
Primate Evolutionary History
  • The origin of the order is commonly given as 65 MYA (million years ago)
  • Some estimates go back to 85 MYA
purgatorius unio
Purgatorius unio


purgatorius unio1
Purgatorius unio
  • 55-65 MYA
  • Lived in N. America and Europe
  • Its fossils first discovered in Montana
  • Member of a Genus called the plesiadapiforms
primate evolutionary history2
Primate Evolutionary History
  • About 50 MYA, pretty soon after the dinosaurs go extinct, there is an explosion in the number of primate species—about 6000 species arise.
  • The 200 species now living are the what remains of this differentiation. (Lewin 2005:64)
linnaean classification1
Linnaean classification
  • Note: When writing the binomen of a species, use italics, and capitalize the name of the Genus!
the primates a quick tour1
The Primates, a quick tour…

The most basic groups to think about:

  • Prosimians
  • Monkeys
  • Apes and humans
typical primate characteristics
Typical Primate Characteristics

Adapted from Jurmain et al. (1998)

primate characteristics
Primate characteristics
  • Limbs and locomotion:
    • Erect or semi-erect posture
    • Generalized limb structure allows a variety of locomotive behaviors.
primate characteristics1
Primate characteristics
  • Limbs and locomotion:
    • Prehensile hands and feet.
      • Five digits
      • Opposable thumbs and big toes
      • Fingernail instead of claws


primate characteristics2
Primate characteristics
  • Generalized diet and teeth
primate characteristics3
Primate characteristics
  • The senses and the brain:
    • Color vision (diurnal primates only)
primate characteristics4
Primate characteristics
  • The senses and the brain:
    • Stereoscopic vision (depth perception)
      • Eyes to the front
      • Visual information from each eye transmitted to visual centers in both hemispheres in the brain
      • Visual information processed by specialized brain structures
primate characteristics5
Primate characteristics
  • The senses and the brain:
    • Large and complex brains
      • Visual information processing
      • Large areas involved with the hand
primate characteristics6
Primate characteristics
  • Maturation, Learning and Behavior
    • Long gestation
    • Single births instead of litters
    • Delayed maturation
    • Tendency to live in mixed-age groups
    • Dependence on learned behavior
gua and donald holding hands
Gua and Donald Holding Hands.