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5.2: Primate Taxonomy

Primates are characterized by large brains relative to other mammals, as well as an increased reliance on stereoscopic vision at the expense of smell, the dominant sensory system in most mammals. These features are more developed in monkeys and apes and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs.

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Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) - Primates

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

WATCH THIS 5 MINUTE VIDEO OVERVIEW OF PRIMATES:

 

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Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\) - Indiri lemur Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\) - The gibbon

Notice how vertical these last two primates are, but for very different locomotion reasons, the indiri jumps from trunk to trunk, and the gibbon swings from branch to branch. We're setting up an explanation for why human bipedalism is part of a primate continuum.

Primate Locomotion

Humans are the only primate that is habitually bipedal, but primates have a tendency towards vertical orientation. The small clingers and leapers hang upright on the trunk, the brachiators hang vertically from their arms, many prosimians jump bipedally, most apes go on two feet for a more dramatic display.

Note

WATCH THESE JUMPING LEMURS: