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Animalogy: Primate Basics

With forward-facing eyes and 3D vision is necessary for
brachiating and leaping. In addition, these characteristics are
needed by primates to catch prey. Diurnal primates tend to have
the best colour vision.
Primates with the largest and most complex brains
(excluding humans) are the Great Apes.
Opposable thumbs are used for grasping or grasp-like grip.
This ability is used in tool making, and in the case of
chimpanzees the ability to toss and throw. Tool making is not
common amongst primate species.
Orang-utans have thumbs that are located further back in
relation to the other fingers on their hands. In addition to
this, they have unusually long fingers aiding in the clinging
onto branches.
Great Apes lack tails. Tails in non-apes can be prehensile
(hooking) and/or used for balance. Some primates have tails that
are longer than their head and body. Yet others have studs or
remnants of tails.
Primates have an incredible plethora of pelage colours,
contours and sizes. The largest living Primate is the gorilla.
The smallest is the Mouse Lemur.
Great Apes include Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Bonobos and
Orang-utans. Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Bonobos inhabit parts of
Africa. Orang-utans inhabit islands in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Gibbons are Lesser Apes.
Apes tend to have few offspring and their child is longer
than non-apes.
Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Bonobos spend much time on the
forest floor (primarily terrestrial). Orang-utans appear quite
clumsy when walking on the ground. Gibbons are incredible
brachiators and spending almost all of their time in trees.
Adult Gorillas, in particular males are too heavy to brachiate.
Possessing a highly developed brain, grasping hands, flat
fingernails and well-designed fingerprints Great Apes are more
advanced on the evolutionary scale than monkeys or Prosimians.
They take more advantage of learned behaviour patterns for
survival.
Whenever you come upon stats (example: 2:1:3:3) pertaining
to dental formula, use the easy to remember acronym ICPM:
-Incisors
-Canines
-Premolars
-Molars
Regarding the above example written in parenthesis it is
for one side of the jaw. Double the number and you get the total
4
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