What makes a human a primate? A primate is defined by its many incredible features. A primate is a mammal that has certain characteristics such as: flexible fingers and toes, opposable thumbs, flatter face than other mammals, eyes that face forward and spaced close together, large and complex cerebrum, and social animals. What makes a primate a primate is its characteristics. Some of the physical features that primates can be identified by is by their teeth, snouts, eyes, ears, arms, legs, fingers, and their toes.
How are we different? Human origins begin with primates, however through evolution we developed unique characteristics such as larger brain sizes, the capacity for language, emotional complexity and habitual bipedalism which separated us from other animals and allowed us to further advance ourselves and survive in the natural world. Additionally, humans have been able to develop a culture, self-awareness, symbolic behavior, and emotional complexity. Human biological adaptations separated humans from our ancestors and facilitated learned behavior and cultural adaptations which widened that gap and truly made humans unlike any other animal. Biological Evolution Biological evolution is the change in the inherited and genetic characteristics of a species.
II. Brain Evolution Humans and chimpanzees are biochemically (DNA) and therefore probably phylogenetically (evolution relationships), more alike than chimps and gorillas. But the brains of chimps and humans differ in size and anatomy more than gorillas and chimps. The brains of chimps and gorillas probably didn't go through many evolutionary innovations, because they generally resemble other ape and monkey brains. This implies that the human brain changed a lot after the human/chimp evolution.
In primates such as chimpanzees it is imperative to look at their culture to understand their intelligence. Culture in this circumstance means a specific set of behaviors obtained through learning in a population/species. Chimpanzee’s intelligence is quite unique how they interact with their environment and use it to their benefit just like humans. They have the ability to overcome the obstacles of everyday life through learning and the ability to use tools to create a better quality of life. The complexity of their intellect is different from any other animal ever seen.
They are capable of reacting to stimuli in an appropriate manner. Researchers have measured intelligence in primates in a number of situations in an effort to determine the level of cognition these primates possess. Russon and Begun, researchers who have explored ape intelligence state, “In the physical domain, great apes do use tools in ways that require their grade of cognition but they devise equally complex manual techniques and solve equally complex spatial problems” (Russon and Begun 2004). Apes have the abilit... ... middle of paper ... ...nd Comparative Psychology. N.p., 2007.
Classification is the ordering of organisms into categories to show evolutionary relationships. There is much thought and consideration that goes into animal classification, and specifically primate classification. Different primates are observed and are looked at genetically. It is seen as a controversial topic because many believe that chimps and humans belong in the same category because they are very similar. Currently, there are two major classification systems, anatomical classification and hominoid genetic classification.
What makes us human? (McGrew, 1998:310). Following these and other similar discoveries, the main decisive factor changed to the possession of culture. It became what was thought to be what separated us from other primates however; it is becoming quite clear that other primates possess culture of their own. Verification that non-human primates do in fact have culture will be achieved through discussing the meaning of culture, how and why culture has changed over evolutionary time from non-primates, to non-human primates, to early hominids to early humans (Janson, et al.,2003:57), as well as the multiple components, such as symbolism, teaching, imitation, speech and “gesture demand brain-size mediated neurological capacities”, which include fine motor skills and the ability to construct variable, complex motor acts, concepts, and objects, that will help determine whether non-human primates possess symbolic culture (Gibson, 2002: 323).
In terms of humans, we interact with each other far more than any other species, and we do so for many reasons, which raises the questions of how and why? In order to answer these questions regarding human behavior, our closest relatives, nonhuman primates, are often put under the microscope. Due to the fact that humans are primates, studying other primates is perhaps the most effective way of gaining insight into our own subspecies on biological, social, and behavioral levels. When it comes to learning and understanding the human species, one cannot simply study any animal and assume it 's behaviors coincide, so our closest relative must take priority over any other species. In determining which relative that is, biology plays a large role.
This behavior of give-and-take was previously thought to be limited to primates. It becomes apparent when looking closely at animals that they too have their own moral codes and emotions. When it comes to what makes humans unique you have to step back and consider more than what you may have thought previously. When it comes to us physically it 's clear we look different and evolved differently, but came from shared history, and still can affect our environmetns similarly. Our mental capabilities are different, but ultimately are close to what we have allowing for a consciousness, and allows for, imagination, emotions, and morals.
Primates are considered to be one of the most interesting mammals on earth to study due to their numerous similarities with humans and their complexities in life. Today we look at primates as our closest relatives, meaning that observations and research will not only give us information about non-human primates, but human primates as well. There were many primates to choose from, though I decided to observe two types of primates, the Western Lowland Gorilla, and the Tufted Capuchin Monkey. Both species of primates were observed at the San Diego Zoo. With my research, I will collect data from my observations, give background information from credible sources, and explain the interactions I encountered while observing the two different primates.