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The evolution and behavior of a primate species - Essay Example

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The earliest primates had developed by 60 million years ago and were small,arboreal insect eaters.Their initial adaptation to life in trees set the stage for the subsequent appearance of other primate models.Primates are thought to have developed several of their traits and habits initially while residing in trees. …
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The evolution and behavior of a primate species
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Download file to see previous pages A key factor to this argument is that primates relied on sight over smell. They were able to develop a keen sense of depth perception, perhaps because of the constant leaping that was necessary to move about the trees. Their initial adaptation to life in trees set the stage for the subsequent appearance of other primate models ("Paleoanthropology/Primates/Humans"). By "arboreal", we refer to the arboreal theory proposed by Le Gros Clark, claiming that primates evolved from their ancestors by adapting to arboreal life. Primates are thought to have developed several of their traits and habits initially while residing in trees. A key factor to this argument is that primates relied on sight over smell. They were able to develop a keen sense of depth perception, perhaps because of the constant leaping that was necessary to move about the trees. The development of the hands and feet in Primates, which made them capable of grasping, was also believed to be a result of arboreal life, which required a great deal of crawling along branches, and reaching out for food, usually fruits ("Arboreal theory").Considered as generalist mammals (species that are able to adapt well in a wide variety of environmental conditions and can make the most of a variety of different resources), primates show a wide range of characteristics. Some primates, including humans and baboons, do not live primarily in trees, but all species possess adaptations for climbing trees and the like.
The evolution of primates started with the Plesiadapis going back to at least 65 mya. From that time until today, there is a vast difference in the species. In all aspects - behavioral, physical, and cognitive - the primate species have definitely transformed to adapt to its environment. Just as the gist of Charles Darwin's theory on evolution states, it is the survival of the fittest (Darwin). The species, then, transformed because of its need to survive.
In the cognitive aspect, the primate's intelligence developed due to reasons that would ensure its survival. Just as apes realized the importance of arboreal locomotion, soon after, some of them have developed the skill in tool-making, and would use them to acquire food and for social displays, especially observed with chimpanzees (Byrne 559). Chimpanzees are also observed to use objects as tools to solve new and novel problems ("Paleoanthropology/Primates/Humans"). By the development of their cognitive element, the physical aspect is too, affected. Primates are particularly large-brained compared to other species, and with the growing cognition, the brain too grows in size. The physical evolution of the primate species, wherein evidences are most apparent in skulls unearthed from the different periods, is very much connected to their behavioral evolution. Also, the bones in the primate's body changed through the different eras. With the increasing intelligence of the primate species, it is then the behavior that changes and transforms. This is then the evolvement of the primates' social behavior.
Behavior of primates, in relation to social systems, Richard Wrangham stated that non-human primates' social systems are best classified by the amount of movement by females occurring between groups. He proposed four categories: (1) Female transfer system. It is in this category that the females move away from a group in which they were born. The females in a group are not closely related, whereas the males usually remain with their natal ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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