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Primate Evolution

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Julie Jenkins

on 25 September 2014

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Transcript of Primate Evolution

Primate Evolution
Primatology- specialization within biological/physical anthropology
what do primates have in common?
Limbs & Locomotion
-tendency toward erect posture
-flexible limb structure
-5 digits
-opposable thumb
-tactile pads
Diet & Teeth
-lack of dietary specialization
-generalized dentition
Senses & Brain
-visual over smell
-depth perception
-eyes positioned toward the front
-increased complexity of brain
Maturation & Learning
-long periods of gestation
-reduced # of offspring
-delayed maturation
-longer life span
-flexible learned behavior
-live in social groups
-tendency toward diurnal activity
Arboreal hypothesis
-a result of adaptation to arboreal living
-beginning of Cenozoic Era (65 mya)
Predation Hypothesis
-adaptation to shrubby forest, undergrowth, lowest tiers of forest canopy
-predators also had forward facing eyes
Cenozoic Era- Eocene period (54-34 mya)
diurnal, strengthening of vision
Oligocene Period (34-24 mya)
Miocene Period (25-5 mya)
Do non-human primates have culture?
What is culture?
shared knowledge and patterns of behavior
entails process of learning
observe, but not necessarily passive
-guided reinvention
involves symbolism
"vehicle for conception"
-behavior interpreted as 'cultural' b/c it is learned
-driven by social structures & ecology

What role does biology (genetics) play?
genetic variation gives the potentiality for learning and behavioral plasticity
influenced by
-natural selection - reproductive success
-diet, body size, distribution of resources, water, predators, sleeping sites, activity patterns, relationships with other species....
Dominance hierarchies
-only males?
-increase reproductive success of dominate?
-how is position established?
--Is sex for reproduction only?
Is motherhood innate?
Tool use
Aggression and Affection
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