Lecture 2A- EarlyPrimates-outline

Lecture 2A- EarlyPrimates-outline - Primate Origins What...

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Primate Origins What are some of the basic primate characteristics?
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The order Primates includes humans (genetically similar) Basic Characteristics include: 1) grasping hands with opposable thumbs (nails instead of claws except grooming claw) 2) sensitive pads on end of fingers and toes facilitates grasping 3) flexible limbs 4) a highly developed sense of vision [stereoscopic color vision except lemurs] Specialized traits of retina and visual cortex of the brain 5) larger brains relative to body size than other mammals and haplorrhines (tarsiiformes and anthropoids) have larger brains than other primates (i.e. strepsirrhines or lemuriformes)
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Primate Characteristics (cont’d): 6) slow growth of offspring 7) single births or very small litters 8) tend to have larger brains with respect to body size 9) unique specialization of the basicranium (auditory bulla or bony case protecting underside of the middle and inner ear)
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Arboreal theory of primate evolution elaboration of visual and tactile sense receptors and their associated control center in the brain caused increased reliance on vision in an arboreal environment induced by a corresponding reduction in olfaction -- ultimately leading to orbital convergence (i.e. from lateral to anterior vision).
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Visual Predation model high degree of orbital convergence and prehensile abilities in early primates who were adept at hunting insects in fine branches of tree canopy as well as undergrowth. origin and radiation of euprimates follows the significant evolutionary upheaval among angiosperms (large fruit types) in the Paleocene. -- new rich fruit sources on branch ends were a windfall resource for early primates. Grasping hands and feet were advantageous to negotiate the fine terminal branches to gain access to fruit (angiosperm) products.
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MODERN PRIMATES Prosimians (strepsirrhines) (means “before apes”) -- distinguished from simians based on the following: prosimians have: -- smaller brain -- longer muzzle -- un-fused frontal bones -- formation of a post-orbital bar (not plate as in anthropoids) behind the eyes -- no shovel shaped incisors -- un-fused joint between two halves of lower jaw -- smaller carotid arteries --feet with nails on all but one toe.
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1) Lemurs (lemuriformes or strepsirrhines) ca. 20 living genera of lemurs - vary in size from mouse lemurs to indri (one meter in height) -- tree dwelling primates confined primarily to the island of Madagascar. Today there are 24 genera and 54 species of extant prosimians, most on Madagascar. Eocene North America and Europe had several times more genera and species. Some have di-chromatic (see blues and greens) rather than tri-chromatic vision (greens, blues and reds).
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2) Lorises (lorisidae) -- completely arboreal and nocturnal; -- omnivorous, i.e. eat insects, small animals, plants and fruits. -- because of arboreal adaptation they have developed very
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2010 for the course ANTH 208 taught by Professor Wall during the Fall '08 term at Towson.

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Lecture 2A- EarlyPrimates-outline - Primate Origins What...

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