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primate radiation



infraorder of the order Primates that includes the prosimians, excluding the tarsier


infraorder of the order Primates that includes the anthropoids and the tarsier


member of the primate suborder Prosimii that includes the lemurs, lorises, galagoes and tarsiers


members of the primate suborder Anthropoidea that includes that monkeys, apes and hominids

arboreal hypothesis

hypothesis for the origin of primate adaptation that focuses on the value of grasping hands and stereoscopic vision for life in the trees

opposable thumb

thumb that enables grasping objects and using tools, the fundamental primate adaptation although some prosimians don't fully exhibit this trait. Allows primates to grasp objects with greater precision than other mammals

visual predation hypothesis

hypothesis for the origin of primate adaptation that focuses on the value of grasping hands and stereoscopic vision for catching small prey

dental arcade

the parabolic arc that forms the upper or lower row of teeth


the part of the brain that controls higher cognitive function; the cerebrum


an evolved increase in the volume of the neocortex


the life cycle of an organism from conception to death


active during daylight hours


active at night


group living; a fundamental trait of haplorhine primates


of the suborder Strepsirhini, found only in madagascar. nocturnal, lack of complex social behavior patterns, dental comb for grooming, relatively long snout ending in rhinarium, scent marking, toilet claw


of the suborder Strepsirhini, found only in Asia and Africa. includes bushbaby.


haplorhine primates that are thought to occupy an evolutionary position between the prosimian and anthropoid primates, generally considered to be closer to anthropoids. live in Indonesia. live in monogamous pairs, are nocturnal, the most carnivorous of all nonhuman primates, eating much small prey

New World Monkeys

flat nose, small body size, three premolar teeth, arboreality, some have prehensile tails

Old World Monkeys

downward facing nostrils, ischial callosities (calluses on their backsides that make it more comfortable to sit on rough surfaces) , bilophodont molars (double ridged molar teeth), greater size than New Worlders and in some cases greater degrees of sexual dimorphism


a subfamily of Old World Moneys: the so called leaf monkeys, langurs and odd-nosed monkeys of Asia. Have semi chambered stomachs that can digest tough cellulose laden foods - enables them to live at high population densities that would be tough because of the availability of edible foods


hormonally influenced period of sexual receptivity that corresponds to the timing of ovulation


apes and humans: includes ape families Hylobatidae and Poingidae as well as the human family hominid


members of our human family, past or present


mode of arm hanging and swinging that uses a rotating shoulder to suspend the body of an ape or hominid beneath a branch or to travel between branches


fourteen species of closely related apes, live in Asian forests, have long arms, extremely elongated fingers, shortened thumbs (they are built for treetop life). Frugivorous (fruit eating), high energy lifestyle of brachiating and singing. Most vocal of all nonhuman primates


fruit eating


leaf (foliage) eating


largest primates, more than 400lb, extremely sexually dimorphic, females migrate to other groups after reaching sexual maturity, infanticide a leading cuase of mortality among mountain gorillas, live in highly cohesive groups ranging from several to several dozen, males either remain in birth group and wait to mate or emigrate elsewhere,


our closest living relatives, live in multimale multifemale communities called fission-fusion groups. males are highly social, forming coalitions to control females, patrol and hunt. females travel more independently to avoid feeding competition. eat mostly ripe fruit, some leaves, insects and meat: monkeys, pigs and small animals.


same genus as chimps, very similar. modest sexual dimorphism, eat mostly fruit, leaves to a greater degree than chimps, hunt but do not necessarily eat meat. live in communities where females migrate between communities after sexual maturity. females engage in genital rubbing to reduce tensions. hypersexual; closer in sexual behavior and biology to humans than any other animal

fission fusion

form of mating system seen in chimpanzees, bonobos and a few other primates in which there are temporary subgroups but no stable cohesive goups


the study of the interrelationships of plants, animals and the physical environment in which they live

home range

the spatial area used by a primate group


the part of a home range that is defended against other members of the same species

niche separation

when two or more organisms with very similar needs share the same space, they diverge from one another in some critical aspect of their niche (ecological role) For example, two monkeys that seem to eat the same foods will be found to eat different diets when food is scare; one might forage high in the trees while the other finds its food on the ground.

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