anthro1-primate observation paper

anthro1-primate observation paper - Dave Olsen 5/1/05...

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Dave Olsen 5/1/05 Anthropology 1 Primate Observation How can modern humans study our earliest ancestors? Outside of a time machine, and I haven’t seen many DeLoreans lately, a possible way is to observe the various behaviors of the many species of primates. Primates are our closest relative in the animal kingdom and some behaviors and practices of humans are reflected in primates. While there are still many primates in the wild, because all species are in Central and South America and Africa, the easiest way to observe primates is in a local zoo. However, captivity has its effects on primates, and so how much can primates in zoos really tell us about ancient hominids? For the purposes of this paper, I made a visit to the San Francisco Zoo in San Francisco (where else), California on April 29 th , 2005 between the hours of 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM. The two species of primates that I observed are the Black Howler Monkey, Alouatta Caraya , and the Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla . The Howlers are small monkeys, probably about the size of a large housecat. Only the males are black; the females and the young are a tan color. The Howlers are monkeys that have a long tail that is used as a fifth limb or prehensile tails. Despite the name, I didn’t hear the Howlers make a sound. The Howlers seemed pretty lazy. Besides the young male monkey and one of the females, they didn’t do much. The adult male moved a total of about three feet in the hour that I was there. Because of his lack of movement, I nicknamed the adult male “Sluggo” in my field notes.
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Olsen 2 The Gorillas are very large apes. The males are much larger than the females. The one male’s back was covered mostly in gray fur reflecting his age. The three females kept away from the male almost the entire time. The only exception is when one of them walked by the male. There appeared to even be a further division within the females. Two of the females spent most of the hour that I observed together, while the other wandered around. Most of this other female’s time was spent at this steel door just staring out of the pen and holding onto the door. The male spent about 45 minutes in one spot and napped for about half of the time that I was there. While there were some observed behavioral similarities in the primates, there were also some distinct differences between the two species. Both groups had very lazy males. The adult male Howler basically slept the entire time. Towards the end of the hour, he got up and went inside the shelter box that was built for the four Howlers. The male Gorilla moved into one spot, and sat there and eventually took two naps in the hour. Food acquisition and sharing was observed in the Howlers, but not in the Gorillas.
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anthro1-primate observation paper - Dave Olsen 5/1/05...

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