The Primate Section Of The Zoo

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Whether it be for a class field trip or a leisurely activity, most of us have been to the zoo, and most certainly have seen the apes and monkeys. It seems as though us humans are drawn to the primate section of the zoo, but why? Is it because they don 't exist ubiquitously throughout the world, or is it simply that we love to see some swing through the trees while others pound their chest? While both of these may play a role, one must realize that species tend to gravitate towards other species of similarity. 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. Primates, specifically chimpanzees, have shown the most similar characteristics to those of modern day humans regarding biology, anatomy, and physiology. In terms of biology, it has been tested and shown that chimpanzees and humans share roughly 95-99% of DNA sequences, the largest connection to humans (Ebersberger et al). Other nonhuman primates also share significant amounts of DNA and are closely related to humans, as can be seen on a phylogenic tree, but chimps are closest biological... ... middle of paper ... ...way we do, we can get a pretty good understanding by observing our closest relatives. Nonhuman primates such as chimpanzees portray many similarities to us humans; biologically, socially, and physically, which is why we study them. Looking back at our earlier ancestors, we can see behavior similar in today 's point of view; Homo erectus making stone tools used for hunting food in order to survive, the domestication of fire and many others. Granted these actions are not exactly needed in today 's day and age, they still help us understand why we continue to exhibit them. Millions of years have passed, and millions more could still lay ahead, but it is important to note that we have not changed and will not change. Rather, we have evolved and will continue to do so. As W.S. Gilbert cleverly states, “Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.”
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