Overview of Living Primates

Overview of Living Primates

Primates can be defined as a make up of a biological order and they descend from a common leader. There are approximately 200-230 species of primates, which can be categorized into three main groups: new world monkeys, which live in America; old world monkeys and apes, which live in Africa except humans and orangutans; and prosimians, which are the most primitive primates and are said to be found in Malaysia and small parts of Southeast Asia. The primates have a lineage, which is thought to go back up to 65 million years ago. They have common characteristics in which they share.

Majority of the primates have an arboreal lifestyle, they rely more on vision rather than scent, they have opposable thumbs and they have hands and feet with five digits, which have nails instead of claws. As compared to their body size, they usually have large brains as compared to the other animals and are very intelligent with some of them using tools to do several tasks. They have long and extended periods both in anti- and post-natal. They tend to care for their young ones for a very long time. They take long to socialize as the baboons take like six months before they become intimate. Different primates have different social structures like forming of troops by baboons and chimpanzees. In addition, different chimpanzees have different diets like eating of different fruit and different meat products like the gazelles and lizards meat.

A good example of a primate is the baboon. They are categorized in the group of old world primates in the family of cercercopithecidae. They are terrestrial animals, that is, they have adapted themselves to living on the land. They live in rocky plains, hilly regions, rainforests and savanna woodlands. They are mainly found in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They have a body length of about 29.5 inches and there weight varies from 12 to 21 kilograms. The males are usually double the size of the female. The baboons have a strong lower abdominal region, a pointed face, long and sharp canine teeth that are common to all primates, very powerful and strong jaws, rough body hair (females luck the male’s long hair around the neck known as ruff) and a naked rump. The males have silver grey color and long shoulder capes where as the females have an olive brown color but lack a mane or a shoulder cape like the males. They form large social groups known as troops where there is one dominant male surrounded by a number of breeding females. This basic unit is known as harem. They usually mate at any time of the year and there mating is very short, which takes only 15-20 seconds. The baboons eat both plants and animals and they are usually active during the day and usually sleep at night. Lastly, the baboons have over 30 vocalization and they spend most of their time on mutual grooming.

Another example of a primate is the chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes). They are categorized in the older world monkeys in the family of pongidae. They are arboreal and terrestrial meaning that they live on trees and land but they are not proficient swimmers. The chimpanzees are the most intelligent and they are said to be the closest to humans. They are mainly found in the wet savannas and the rainy forests. There are four sub-species of chimpanzees, which include western Chimpanzees, Nigerian chimpanzees, eastern chimpanzees and central chimpanzees. Eastern chimpanzees are found in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya but in Kenya, they are only found captivity. Central chimpanzees are found in Central Democratic Republic of Congo. The western chimpanzees are found in Guinea and lastly the Nigerian chimpanzees are found in Nigeria. They have a thickset body with long, short legs and they do not have a tail. They have long black hair covering their bodies (except for face, ears and toes, which are bare). They live in groups of 30-80 individuals called troops. They have been known to use tools to perform several tasks like fetching of water with chewed lives. They are active during the day and sleep at night. They have built nests with tree branches and lining the edges with twigs. They usually eat plants but can supplement their diet with meat. There arms have a long grip that firmly grasps the fruits on the branches. When a female is on heat, the bare skin on her bottom turns pink and swells. She can mate with several males and normally gives birth to one baby. She breast-feeds her and carries her like a small baby similar to what the humans do.

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