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Viewing and observing primates at the zoo and using them as a research subject is crucial to help with the understanding of how humans came to be. Since humans and primates are onwards of 95% genetically similar (Why are Humans Primates), observing them is a great tool to better understand humans and the relationship we share with primates. Though some research done on primates has questioned the morality of such a thing, by not observing our closest ancestors, we would not have many of the answers about humans that we have today. Non-human primates can teach us many things about ourselves, from evolution,to behavioral and social characteristics. Apes, like humans, are catarrhines and part of the superfamily hominoidea. Apes started to appear in the Miocene about 20 million years ago(lecture notes, week 10), under this category there are many primates that are distinguished as apes, such as, orangutans, gibbons, chimpanzees, and gorillas. These particular primates are from the old world and are native to Africa and Asia. Apes can be distinguished by the foramen magnum towards the back of the skull, having no tail, and having a hook nose (Larsen 2013, p. 150). Another characteristic of apes is that they have large brains for their body size, this is important because it shows they have a higher intelligence than other animals, and this can be connected to the relationship shared with humans. Bonobos and gorillas are often found socializing in groups but orangutans are more solitary primates usually keeping to just the children they have (Absolutely Apes). Most scientists believe that bonobos are the most intelligent of the primates(Absolutely Apes). They share many of the behaviors us humans do day to day, like teaching... ... middle of paper ... ...produce palm oil (zoo sign). So the zoo actually saves these animals’ lives and gets the word out to help protect them. All in all, learning about primates then getting to observe them is very interesting. I got to match the primate’s behaviors written in a book with how they act in person, and see for myself if it was what I expected. Observing them is far more fun than just reading about them, for example while I was sitting with the orangutans there was not a minute that went by where I wasn't smiling or laughing at what each individual ape was doing. Actually seeing certain primates interact with each other whether it be grooming, hugging,or playing, put into perspective just how much they act like humans. By observing and doing research, this will better our understanding between the differences and similarities of non-human primates and ourselves as humans.
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