Primate Observation

Topics: Primate, Ape, Human Pages: 6 (2556 words) Published: December 12, 2012
In a world where time travel is not possible there is no way to observe evolution directly as each species changes and diversifies . In order to better understand the process and its effect on species we must observe them and their ancestors , by observing we can find similarities between these animals as well as the differences and how each one has adapted differently to its own environment. By observing Chimpanzees and the Crested Capuchin monkey, both of which had an infant and mother pair it was easy to see the differences as well as the similarities between the two very different groups in how they interact socially , how they care for their infants and feed . These two groups shared similarities with human behavior as well, actions that were witnessed in some cases were very human especially with the chimpanzees. Observing these behaviors as well as primate culture allows us to grasp a better understanding of where we as a species came from, although we did not descend from primates we do share a lot of similarities with the great apes such as bone structure, the capacity for learning, and behavior.

The Chimpanzee (pan troglodytes) are closer to humans genetically then the other members within the superfamily Hominoidea, they belong to the subfamily Pongidea which also includes gorillas and orangutans and their species is classified as Pan. They reside in Africa where they live in multiple habitats ranging from the rain forest to grass lands and dry wooded areas, different groups in different areas eat and behave slightly different than others. These apes spend about 1/3 of their time on the ground making them semi terrestrial and use a modified version of quadrupedalism known as “knuckle walking” or quad. Chimpanzees are known for their use of tools in every day life, the use leaf sponges with dew on them to drink water and also wipe themselves, long sticks in a process referred to as termite fishing and they also create sharp sticks for hunting. They rely mostly on fruit leaves and insects as part of their diet but will supplement meat in, they hunt and kill smaller mammals one in particular being the colobus monkey for food and are the only primate known to do this. These apes are also very social, they like to live in large social units where the members are always changing as they sometimes migrate between groups. Family bonds between females is very strong with this particular ape, mothers and daughters will often stay in the same group or move together. Behavior is not inherited for these animals it is learned and therefore playtime is used to teach young the culture of the group.

The Crested Capuchin Monkey (cebus nigritus) reside in the Atlantic forest in Brazil , unlike the chimpanzees these monkeys are strictly arboreal and are full quadrupeds , they have a prehensile tail they use for helping them along the canopy, the tail can act like fifth limb it allows them to grasp branches and balance. These new world monkeys are part of the superfamily Ceboidea and the family Cebidae and are part of the subfamily Cebinae, they have a very distinct nose called a platyrrhine nose where the nostrils are usually separated by a septum and open facing forward it is a characteristic of New World Monkeys. Much like the chimpanzees these monkeys have developed a way of using tools to open food or aid in the process of feeding, they use rocks to smash hard nuts and seeds open, those in captivity have been seen using sticks to fish for ants. These monkeys are omnivorous and will eat both vegetation and insects as well as small vertebrates. They are social and live in troops of 5-20 each troop contains a dominant male and a dominant female and can have multiple males , though the dominant male is most likely to mate and father the young, they do not mate in set pairs as they are polygamous .

While observing these animals in captivity there was some likeness in behavior but certain situations were very...
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