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most extant primate species located here

past 30 years

5 new primate species discovered
300% increase in known nocturnal species

Lesula Monkey

DRC Sept 2012, only 2nd discovery in 28 years


Orangutans, Gorillas, Chimps/Bonobos, Humans

more primate diveristy in past or present?


First Primates date

50-60 mya

First Hominins dates

5-7 mya

Furst Homo sapiens

200,000 ya


the most ancient primates, modern day descendents still possess many primitive traits (lemurs, lorises, tarsiers)


diurnal, greater emphasis on vision, relatively large brains (NWM, OWM, Hominoids)


New World Monkeys (round, sideways facing nostrils) Anthropoids


Old World Monkeys and Hominoids (humans, apes) narrow, downward facing nostrils. Anthropoids

General Characteristics of Primates

arboreal, grasping hands/feet, nails instead of claws, forward-facing eyes (binocular vision), post-orbital bar/enclosure, big brains, social animals


Tree-dwelling, very capable of rapid movement through trees

Grasping Hands/Feet

five digits on each hand or foot, prehensile (capable of grasping objects), some prehensile tails

Grasping Reflex

newborn human infants also have strong grasping reflexes

Nails, no claws

Primate hands and feet have expanded tactile pads and nails instead of claws, protect sensitive skin at ends of fingers/toes, enhanced sense of touch

Forward Facing Eyes: Binocular Steroscopic Vision

3D nature of arboreal life requires depth perception to judge distances (overlapping fields of vision, both sides of the brain receiving images from both eyes), reduction in dependence smell; Overlapping fields of vision- fields of vision for each eye overlap, which provides depth perception

Enclosed Eye Sockets

Haplorhine (anthropids and tarsiers)- post orbital closure, fully enclosed eye socket to protect, diurnal so rely on vision
Strepsirhine (all prosimians but Tarsiers)- post-orbital bar, mainly nocturnal primates with decreased reliance on vision
Canine- no bar/bony socket to protect

Relatively Big Brains

larger than expect, more complex, body control and coordination areas, visual abilities, learning, intelligence


advantages- detect/defend against predators, access to food and mates, assist caring of offspring, grooming behaviors- hygienic and form social bonds

Living in groups

Being tolerant, forming relationships

Equipped for Sociality

scent marking/detection, communicative postures/faces, diverse vocal, perceptive to other's reactions/expectations, cue individuals for social interactions

Why study primates

we are primates, evolution, uniqueness, conservation

Who Study

Interdisciplinary pursuit: biologists (growth, evolution, taxonomy etc), Psychologists (cognitive capacities), Anthro (models of behaivor)

Nonhuman primate studies inform about (human ev)

morphology, ecology, sociality, cognition


active during the daylight hours; inactive or sleeping at night


active day or night


active during night; inactive or sleeping during day

Activity Budgets

how primates allocate time to essential activities (rest, Feed, Travel, Other (social)




non-insect vertebrates




non-reproductive parts of plants (leaves, stems, shoots, pith, bark)

Majority of primates (diet classification)

fruigivore-folivore or insectivore-frugivore


ground dwelling


partially ground-dwelling



Forest Floor

ground level


area below trees, but above ground


forest cover

emergent trees

crown above forest canopy

Daily Path Length or Day Range

distance traveled each day

Home Range

area used by a primate

Territorial Primates

defend the entire resource area that they exploit from intrusions

Grouping Categories

One male/multifemale
One female/multimale
One female/one male


Stable Social Group

group composition remains stable


group compostion is fluid, depending on ecological or social factors


single adult male and a single adult female
(Callitricheds, oul monkeys, titi monkeys)


single male and multiple females
(Nocturnal prsimians and orangutans)


single breeding female and multiple males
(Moustached tamarins)

Egyptian Primate Depiction

3000BC, Thoth, god of wisdom, baboons, scribes, measurement, sclaes, moon

Hindu Primate Depiction

500 BCE, Hanuman, aid Lord Rama against evil forces, strength, devotion

Pre Classic Mayan Primate Depiction

divine creatures, sacred, underworld, creation myths

Tulp's Dissection

Western, 1641, surgeon, "The Anatomy Lesson", first to provide scientific info on great ape, (female ape orangutan or chimp?)

Charles Darwin on Baboons

"Origin of man now proved. Metaphysic must flourish. He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke"
minds were biological adaptations with evolutionary histories that can be studied by making systematic comparisons between related species


1890s, go to Gabon, cage in forest to protect himself, observe in wild

Robert Yerkes

1916, article in Science call for establishment of primate research institute for systematic study of fundamental instincts/social relations of primates, reason that primates, bc of evolutionary closeness to humans, could shed most light on the roots of human behavior
(In 1929, The Great Apes, by Robert and Ada Yerkes), also sponsor 2 expeditions to Africa- study/collect apes for lab

Mary Bradley

1920s, and husband travel to Africa w/ big game hunter (Carle Akeley) to collect gorilla specimens for American Museum of Natural History. 1926- Akeley return to study gorillas but die

Clarence Ray Carpenter

1931-1934; observe howler monkeys on Barro Colorado island, spider monkeys in Panama; 1937- go on multidisciplinary expedition to study langurs in Thailand
(Sherwood Washburn was also on this "Asiatic Primate Expedition" as a graduate student)

Cold Spring Harbor Symposia of Quantitative Biology

1950, 129 prominent biologists and anthropologists met to discuss human evolution and other topics, inspire by meeting

Sherwood Washburn

The New Physical Anthropology, American physical anthropologist specializing in primate anatomy, encouraged anthropologists to use new techniques to study human evolution, encouraged young scientists to apply ethnographic methods/theory used by sociocultural anthropologists to study of wild baboons (Baboons are semi-terrestrial and live in open woodland savanna habitats, thought to be similar to those inhabited by our a human ancestors)

Jeanne and Stuart Altmann

1963-1964, study yellow baboons in Amboseli Kenya, foucs on processes at individual/group and pop levels

Japan Primatology

1948- Kinjii Imanishi, Japanese macaques
1958- Japan Monkey Centre Insitute and Museum of Primatology, Imanishi and ITani on anthropoid investigation in africa

Jolly, Sussman

1960s- lemurs

Louis Leakey

British paleontologist, help establish long-term studies of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutas

Jane Goodall

1961- chimps

Dian Fossey

1966 mountain gorillas


1971- orangutans (Borneo)

Why study teeth

diet, sexual dimoprhism (social structure), comparison, well-preserved

Dental Formula

Shorthand method of describing the number of each type of tooth in one-half of the jaw in a mammal
Humans- 2:1:2:3 (upper jaw) (3 molars, 2 premolars, 1 canine, 2 incisors)

Same dental formula

Humans and Old World Monkeys


the most ancient primates, modern day descendants still possess many primitive traits
(Lemurs, lorises, tarsiers)


Diurnal, greater emphasis on vision, relatively large brains
(New World Monkeys, Old World Monkeys, Hominoids)


often lack one of the general characteristics of primates-
(Some prosimians have a single claw on each hand or foot
Prosimians rely more on a sense of smell than do anthropoids
Prosimian brains are generally smaller relative to body size than anthropoids
They tend to be small and solitary
Many prosimians are nocturnal)


Madagascar, lemurs, sifakaas, indriids, aye ayes

Lemur Locomotion

vertical clinger/leapers

Smallest Primates eat

insects, gums

Smaller primates eat


Large primates eat


Tarsier diet

all animal prey (insects)

Lemur Social Scene

some multi-male/multi-female, >25% monogamous paris (high), FEMALE DOMINANCE

Aye Aye

(Lemuroidea), only in madagascar, feeds on insects, specialized middle finger, solitary lifestyle, post-orbital bar, 1:0:1:0, 1:0:0:3


lorises, pottos, galagos, slow quadrupedal locomotion (no leap), Africa, Asia, move slowly- avoid detection, insects


(Loridae) bush babies (crying baby), good leapers, longer hindlimbs than forelimbs

Nocturnal Prosimians

aye aye, bushbaby, greater bamboo lemur

Loris, Potto, and Galago Social Scene

Solitary or small groups, All prosimians (except tarsiers) have reflective tapetum, which is a layer in the retina that reflects light and enhances night vision

Prosimian Diet

large animal prey component, also comsume some fruit

Toilet/Grooming Claw

Strepsirhine Trait, Characteristic of all prosimians, it's a specialized claw or nail on the foot used for personal grooming

Tooth Comb

Strepsirhine Trait, dental structure of strepsirhines used in grooming, comprised of lower incisors and canine

Strepsirhine Dental Formula

Lemurs, Sifakas, INdriids, Lorises, Galagos


Philippines, Indonesia, small (4-5 oz), hunt at night for insects, rotate head
pairs or small social groups, park infants (dont carry- limit social learning opportunities)

Stresirhines and Haplorhines

alternative to the traditional classification of prosimians and anthropoids
(Tarsiers don't fit into traditional classification, bc have many anthropoid characteristics)
Easy Distinction:
Strepsirhines- primates w/ wet noses
Haplorhines- primates w/o wet noses

Tarsier Traits Resembling Anthropoids

no reflective tapetum (strepsirhines have), no wet noses, post-orbital closure like antrhopoids, monthly sexual swellings of females like anthropoids

New World Primate Origins

"Floating Island"model of africa


Callitrichids (tamarins, marmosets)
Cebids (squirrel monkeys, capuchins, owl monkey)
Pithecids (saki monkeys, uakaris)
Atelids (spider/holwer/woolly monkeys)


Unique dental formula 2:1:3:2 (only 2 molars)
Nail on hallux, claws on all other digits
10-12 species of tamarins, 14 marmosets
Central America and Amaoznia
Body size: approx 110-500 grams
Claws on all digits except big toe
Diet: fruit and invertebrates, nectar
Group Structure
Single breeding female dominant over other group members
Births: twins, as often as every 6 months
Males help carry infants

New World Monkey Dental Form


Cebids: Owl Monkeys

9 species
South and Central American (Panama to Argentina)
Only nocturnal anthropoid primate
Body size: approx 1 kg
Diet: fruit, leaves, insects
Births: 1 offspring per year
Monogamous pairs
Male helps care for infants

Cebids: Squirrel Monkeys

2 species (Saimiri oerstedii and Saimiri sciureus)
Central and South America
Body size: approx 800 g
Diet: frugivorous and insectivorous
Sharp crests on molars
Birth: Single births every year, breeding highly seasonal
Group sizes: Large (20-50 individuals)

Cebids: Capuchins

4 species of genus Cebus
Central and South America
Body size: sexually dimorphic
Males: 3.5 kg
Females: 2.5 kg
Prehensile tail
Diet: fruit and animal matter
Tool use (cracking nuts and opening clams) video
Relatively large brain size, slow life histories
Group size: 8-30 individuals

Pithecids: Pithecia, Chiropotes, Cacajoa

3 genera (Pithecio (saki monkeys), Chiropotes (bearded saki),Cacajoa (Uakaris)
Guianas, Suriname and Northeastern Brazil
Swamps, hard to study
Body size: 2-3 kg
Dental specializations for hard foods (fruits and seeds)
Large, procumbent incisors and large canines
Range of social organization
Some monogamous groups, some more fission-fusion (larger groups, break apart during different times of the day to forage)

Atelids: Spider Monkeys

4 species of the genus Ateles
Yucatan peninsula throughout Amazonia
Habitat: primary rainforests, upper canopy
Body size: 7-9 kg
Prehensile tail, Brachiation
Fission-fusion social organization
Large groups that split up during day
Diet: primarily fruit

Atelids: Muriquis

Genus Brachyteles (wooly spider monkey or muriqui)
Isolated patches in Brazilian Atlantic coast
Highly endangered
Largest New World Primate (8-10 kg)
Prehensile tail
Slow life histories
Females do not reach maturation until ~9 years of age
Diet: frugivorous/folivorous

Atelids: Howler Monkeys

Many species of the genus Alouatta
southern Mexico to Argentina
many different habitats (Dry deciduous forests, cloudforests, degraded forests)
Sexually dimorphic (4-8 kg)
Color (Females- golden color Males- black)
Hyoid Bone (Males- large)
Prehensile tails
More rapid life stories
Females reach maturation at 3.5 years
Most folivorous NWP (Approx 50% leaves)
Small day ranges, sedentary lifestyle (Tactic for low energy diet?)

Living Lab Methods

Behavioral Data
follow around, write down everything, toughness data

Toughness Data

no significant differences btwn juvenile and adult diets (few food choices) but juveniles- less time eating tough foods, they struggle with transition to adul diet (fall back to mother's milk during dry season, as resource toughness increases), mortality during dry increase

Where find OWM

Africa, Asia

Old World Monkeys Cercopithecoids (Cercopithecinea and Colobinae)

Baboons, macaques, mangabeys, langurs, dirunal, generally larger than NWM, partly terrestrial, NOT prehensile tails, ischial callosities

Ischial Callosities

calluses on rump of OWM, sleep sitting upright or on thin branches/cliffs beyond reach of predators

OWM Diet


Cheek Pouches

saces in lower cheek, store food, consume food later or at safe distance

Old World Monkeys Subfamily: Colobinae

colobus monkeys, langurs, more leaves and seeds than cercopithecinae,no cheek pouches, specialized stomaches, high-cusp molars

Sacculated Stomach

chambered stomach helps break down plant material

Dental Adaptations: Feeding on Leaves

BILOPHODONT molars with shearing crests
slice up leaves

Cercopithecoidea Dental Formula


Cercopithecoidea Sexual Dimorphism

difference in body size (m/f)

Baboons Sexual Dimorphism

show it

Cercopithecoidea Politics Within and Between the Sexes

Group living: dominant male with multiple females
primate politics: domiance hierarchies, alliances


living in the same group as one' matrilineal kin, Females remain in their natal group, and males transfer
Many baboons, macaques

Negotiating Relationships with Other Females

disperse, stays, have social skills to integrate

Benefits of Social Skills

Benefits of female's social skills-
Achieving higher rank
Support from group members
Increased access to resources necessary for reproduction
More offspring survive to age of reproduction

Limiting Resources and Competition

female- food resource availability
males- mating opportunities

Egalitarian Relationships

equality of all individuals; especially in political, economic, or social life
can be challenges to the hierarchical structure
dominance interactions: BI-DIRECTIONAL


patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on basis of family relationships, as in business and politics
Challenges to the hierarchical structure are rare
dominance interactions: UNI-DIRECTIONAL

Baboon Social System

Multi-male, multi-female group
Group size varies from 17-77
Females remain in their natal groups for their entire lives
Males emigrate into a new social group to breed when they reach adult size

Baboon Dominance Among Females

assert their rank over submissive females by-Threats, mild aggression, biting, chasing, displacing at feeding sites, fighting
Submissive animals respond by- Averting their head/body, avoiding the dominant animal, crouching, screaming

Baboon Stability of Female Rank

young inherit mother rank, stable for long periods, high ranking matriline (offspring- high status), low ranking (low)

Baboon Reproductive Fitness of High-Ranking Female Daughters

reach sexual maturity younger, reproduce earlier, increased overall potential fitness

Baboon Female Coalitions

kinship, relative dominance rank (high support high), mothers/siblings support

Baboon Female Bonding

enhance survival, infants live longer

Female bonding in humans

strengh/quality>number, reduced mortality, better physical/mental health

Baboon Dominance among Males

largest, fighters, not kin, usually youngest immigrants, higher levels of reprodctive success

Baboon Male Coalitions and Fighting Ability

support during fights, not based on kinship, based on fighting ability

Baboon Stability of Male Ranks

~2 years, transfer groups

Baboon Consortships

lag behind, consortship may last a morning, an afternoon, or an entire day
However, a female can have multiple mates during a single estrus period

Female Choice Among Baboons

female choice

Baboon "Friendships"

formed by grooming, maintaining close proximity, infant handling


dexual dimoprhism (weight), multi-male, multi-female, matrilocal, kin bonded, vary in degree of nepotism

Complexity of Social Relationships: Third Party Interventions

Dominant individual- observe individuals forming alliance, break it up such separating interventions in chimps, gelada baboons, and Japanese macaques
Consolation, third-party mediation can facilitate reconciliation after a fight
In contrast, reconciliation occurs among individuals involved in a conflict

Reparing Relationships

Despotic Rhesus Macaques (uni-directionality) don't need repair relationships ~7% post-conflict repair
Egalitarian bonnet macaques (bi-dir) reversals- need repair ~29%

Hominoid Characteristics

large bodied
big/complex brains
Y-5 cusp pattern on molars
suspensory climbers
no tail
orangutans, gorillas, chimps, bonobos, humans

Y-Cusp Pattern on Molars

distinguish from OWM (only 4 in bilophodont pattern)

Suspensory Climbers

Anatomical adaptations for climbing
Broad torso
Long arms
Short legs

Gibbons (Hominoidea)

"lesser apes" (smaller)
long forearms, mobile shoulder, short thumbs, elongated fingers (hook) brachiation
sexually monomorphic
pair bonded, variation
not necessarily monomogous
fruits, seeds, leaves

Extra Pair Copulation

(gibbons) no monogamous

Modes of Primate Communication

Touch, Visual signals (facial expression, postures), Odors, Vocalizations, different detection distance, can be used singly or in combination

Gibbon Communication

defend territories, duet/song, loud


Boreno, "man of forest" Sumatra
sexual dimorphism (canine, sagittal crest, 2x body size)
secondary sexual characteristics (cheek flanges- projet long distance vocal, summon females, territory)
female mate preference

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