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Hominoids - Essay Example

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Hominoids belong to the Hominoidea superfamily which is broadly classified into Hylobatidae and Hominidae families. The primates of Hylobatidae family are known as Gibbons. They are also known as the lesser apes are completely arboreal and confined to the trees…
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Hominoids Hominoids belong to the Hominoidea superfamily which is broadly ified into Hylobatidae and Hominidae families. The primates of Hylobatidae family are known as Gibbons. They are also known as the lesser apes are completely arboreal and confined to the trees. They live in small groups and are very particular about keeping away rivals their territory. The male and female Gibbons live as exclusive couples.
The primates of Hominidae family are referred to as the Great apes. The Hylobatidae family consists of Hylobates, Pongo, Pan and Gorilla genera. Another classification involves two tribes, Panini and Homini. Both Pan and Gorilla genera are divisions in the Panini tribe, while Homini tribe includes Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens, better known as human beings belong to the Hominidae family and the Homo genus. Hylobates, Pongo pygmaecus, Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla and Homo sapiens are the six different species of Homonoids.
Chimpanzees belong to the Pan genus. They spend a considerable amount of time on the ground and inhabit in large complex social groupings. They are specially adapted for knuckle walking. They also indulge in hunting as a group, sharing of food and tool making. They resemble our ancestors in anatomy as well as social behavior and are considered to be our closest living cousins. Orangutans belong to the Pongo genus. They are generalized climbers and are most isolated among the primates. Gorillas are the largest among primates. The male gorilla is larger and stronger than its female counterpart. The male gorilla has exclusive relationships with a group of females and keeps away male rivals from this group.
The Old World species exhibit sexual dimorphism as a result of polygynous mating system. Hence, the males are bigger and stronger than the females to attract and sustain the pressure of defending multiple mates. On the other hand, the New World species follow monogamous mating system and form pair bonds (Shumaker and Beck, 64-69). Hence, the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism is less pronounced.
Hominoids are the largest among the primates, in terms of body size and relative brain size. They also have grinding teeth behind the premolars with a five pointed crown design which also commonly known as the Y-5 pattern. They also have pentadactyly structure, wherein each limb consists of five fingers. They have opposing thumbs and long fingers with short fingernails to easily cling on to tress. The orthograde or the semi-erect posture is yet another distinctive feature found in hominoids. Brachiation, the ability to freely swing the arms serves a form of locomotion in extant primates. Their arms and shoulders are highly flexible and mobile. Also, their arms are longer than their legs to aid swinging from tree to tree. They also have forward-facing color binocular vision for finding and collecting food. However, recent studies propose that the color binocular vision in male primates is also important for wooing the females. The absence of a tail is yet another striking factor. The size of the brain is relatively large and its structure is highly complex. All these factors and lifestyle patterns make extant primates as models for our ancestors.
Works Cited
Shumaker, Robert and Beck, Benjamin. Primates in Question. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute Press, 2003. Read More
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