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3: Primates

  • Page ID
    129993
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    • 3.1: Introduction to Primatology
      We are primates. One way to learn about humans is to study them as a kind of primate. This works especially well to explain how we got the physical structure that we have. It works a little bit to explain a few of our behaviors. It doesn't work at all to explain our culture.
    • 3.2: Primate Classification
      There are two means by which scientists classify organisms, classic taxonomy and cladistics. Paleoanthropologists are trained in evolutionary theory, and both biologists and paleontologists rely principally upon cladistics. There is definite utility in using a combination of both systems, that is, the binomial nomenclature (genus and species) of classic taxonomy combined with the cladistic arrangement of species in terms of shared characteristics.
    • 3.3: Primate Evolution
      While we have no primate fossil material prior to the Eocene Epoch, the first primates are thought to have evolved prior to the Paleocene Epoch (66–56 mya), possibly as far back as 90 mya, during the Late Cretaceous Period. With the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous, many terrestrial niches became available and predation pressures were somewhat relaxed.
    • 3.4: Primate Social Organization
      Most primates live in groups. The best explanation for why animals form groups and endure the costs of feeding competition is to minimize the risk of predation. Grouping patterns are tied to diet and the defensibility of resources. Females are out to maximize resources for themselves and their offspring, so as to maximize their reproductive success. If a species eats grass or leaves, it does not make sense to defend those resources.
    • 3.6: Ethology
      Ethology is the study of animal behavior. Don't confuse it with "ethnology" the study of "ethnos", ethnicities, the comparative study of human cultures.
    • 3.7: Conservation
      The total world primate population has skyrocketed in the last 10,000 years and especially in the last 200 years. But, the total number of primate species has declined drastically and primate extinction is expected to continue. One primate is doing really well, at the expense of all the other primates. The primary cause is habitat loss, but a significant and very symbolic factor is that one primate is literally eating all the others.
    • 3.8: Lab 5 and 6- Primates


    3: Primates is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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