Primates are a class of mammals that have developed over a long period. Recently, it has been estimated that there are more than 400 distinct classes of primates all over the world. Examples of primates include chimpanzees, tamarins, lemurs, titis, gorillas, orangutans, sakis, capuchins, mandrills and mangabeys. Primates are remarkably current animals. Many species of animals had become extinct long ago before the first monkey and their prosimian ancestors developed. The Earth is estimated to be 4.55 billion years old, and the earliest life dates back to 3.5 billion years ago. The earliest primates evolved around 60 million years ago. That was after the dinosaurs had befallen extinct.
Primates are characterized by five fingers they have on their feet and hands and a long, strong tail. They have a large brain capacity, and they are friendly animals. In addition, they have hair in their ears; they are furry except for their face, small and have small ears. They are divided into three distinct classes, and they comprise of the new-world monkeys, prosimians, and old-world monkey. Primates have arboreal habitats, and hence, they are close to bushes and trees. During the time primates evolved, the world was different from the current world. The continents were situated together, and they had a different shape (Rafferty, 2011).
Primates have a number of distinguishing characteristics that differentiate them from the rest of animals. Firstly, they have extensive developmental and gestation period. They have three distinct types of teeth. Their eyes are stereoscopic, and they have a strong sense of smell that enables them to point their food or prey at distance. Their brain size and large skull enables them to think exceptionally fast in times they are required to make quick judgments. Primates have colored vision, which is not found in any mammals. The arrangement of teeth is distinct and hence, new-world monkeys have twelve, while old-world monkeys have eight teeth that assist them process and chew their food.
The structure of the nose of the new-world monkey and old-world monkey is different from others to provide a better sensing capability. Unlike other animals, primates have more capability of understanding and knowledge concerning how to choose their opposite sex partner. Therefore, they can make significant hunting strategies compared to other mammals. They are also well-known for solving problems; therefore, they come up with techniques that solve them. They are selective in the food they eat. In addition, they have knowledge to make crude items to hunting facilities, and they can cheat and manipulate their enemies if the situation demands.
Primates spend their time in tight, complex woven areas, and they require to regularly communicating with each other. They communicate with sound, smells, touching and visual messages. Non-human primates mostly use body language to communicate. Human communication is focused in the use of oral sounds. Speech is different from howls, barks, slaps on the ground, whistles, hoots and the rest of the sound used by non-humans in communication. Non-human primates use odors, gestures, facial expression and vocalization to communicate with others of the present concern and psychological state (Rafferty, 2011). This tells what they are likely to do next. Prosimians have outstanding olfactory sensing capability. Marmosets and tamarins use scented urine to recognize the gum trees that are vital food sources in their habitats.
Humans are known to be primates, but primates that resemble them are apes. Therefore, human is classified along with all other apes in a primate subclass termed as the hominid or superfamily hominoidea. This group can be further subdivided into the lesser apes and great apes.
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Anthropology is the study of human present and past events. Anthropologists study the primates to know the practices and social patterns across the culture with interest in how individuals’ lives govern, organize and create meaning. They also investigate how humans adapt to different and diverse environments, how cultural and biological processes work together to shape the development.
Anthropologists expect to learn how non-human primates live in order to apply this knowledge to human primates. They use this knowledge to problem solving for practical reasons in corporations, non-governmental agencies, non-academic settings, governmental institutions and medical fields.