Top Ten Primates

Top Ten Primates

File:Male gorilla in SF zoo.jpg

       A primate is a mammal, which arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests. Many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment. With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. They range in size from Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, which weighs only 30 g (1 oz), to the eastern lowland gorilla, weighing over 200 kg (440 lb). According to fossil evidence, the primitive ancestors of primates may have existed in the late Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago; the oldest known primate is the Late Paleocene Plesiadapis, circa 55–58 million years ago.The order Primates has traditionally been divided into two main groupings: prosimians and anthropoids (simians). Prosimians have characteristics more like those of the earliest primates, and include the lemurs of Madagascar, lorisoids, and tarsiers. Simians include monkeys, apes and hominins. Primates are characterized by large brains relative to other mammals, as well as an increased reliance on stereoscopic vision at the expense of smell, the dominant sensory system in most mammals. These features are more developed in monkeys and apes and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs. Three-color vision has developed in some primates. Most also have opposable thumbs and some have prehensile tails. Primates have slower rates of development than other similarly sized mammals and reach maturity later, but have longer lifespans.

  1. Humans
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    Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only extant species of the genus Homo. Humans are characterized by having a large brain relative to body size, with a particularly well developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, making them capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, problem solving and culture through social learning. This mental capability, combined with an adaptation to bipedal locomotion that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species. Humans are the only extant species known to build fires and cook their food, as well as the only known species to clothe themselves and create and use numerous other technologies and arts. Homo sapiens originated in Africa, where it reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. The human lineage diverged from the last common ancestor with its closest living relative, the chimpanzee, some five million years ago, evolving into the Australopithecines and eventually the genus Homo. Homo sapiens proceeded to colonize the continents, arriving in Eurasia 125,000-60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago.
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  2. Silverback Gorilla
    File:Male gorilla in SF zoo.jpg
    Gorillas comprise the eponymous genus Gorilla, the largest extant genus of primates by size. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The genus is divided into two species and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the bonobo and common chimpanzee. Gorillas’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 m (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.
    Links: Top 100 Photographs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverback_gorilla#Group_life,
  3. Chimpanzee
    File:Chimpanzee Ham in Biopack Couch for MR-2 flight MSFC-6100114.jpg
    Chimpanzee is the common name for the two extant hominid species of apes in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitats of the two species: Common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes (West and Central Africa) and Bonobo, Pan paniscus (forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans and orangutans. Chimpanzees split from the human branch of the family about four to six million years ago. The two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe). Chimpanzees are the only known members of the Panina subtribe. The two Pan species split only about one million years ago.
    Links: Top Ten ChimpanzeesPosters, Top 100 Vintage PostersStreet Art, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee,
  4. Orangutan
    File:Orangutan -Zoologischer Garten Berlin-8a.jpg
    The orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extant great apes. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Since 1996, orangutans have been divided into two species: the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus) and the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii). The orangutans are also the only surviving species of the subfamily Ponginae, which also included several other species, such as Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate. Orangutans diverged from the rest of the great apes 15.7 to 19.3 million years ago. Orangutans are the most arboreal of the great apes and spend most of their time in trees. Their hair is typically reddish-brown, instead of the brown or black hair typical of chimpanzees and gorillas. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Dominant adult males have distinctive cheek pads and produce long calls that attract females and intimidate rivals. Younger males do not have these characteristics and resemble adult females. Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes, with social bonds occurring primarily between mothers and their dependent offspring, who stay together for the first two years. Fruit is the most important component of an orangutan’s diet, however, the apes will also eat vegetation, bark, honey, insects and even bird eggs. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity. Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates; they use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage. The apes have been extensively studied for their learning abilities. Field studies of the apes were pioneered by primatologist Birutė Galdikas. Both orangutan species are considered to be Endangered, with the Sumatran orangutan being Critically Endangered.
    Links: Top Ten Most Intelligent Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangatan,
  5. Mandrill

    The mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Old World monkey (Cercopithecidae) family, closely related to the baboons and even more closely to the drill. It is found in southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo. Mandrills mostly live in tropical rainforests and forest-savanna mosaics. They live in groups called hordes. Mandrills have an omnivorous diet consisting mostly of fruits and insects. Their mating season takes place from June to October. Both the mandrill and the drill were once classified as baboons in genus Papio, but recent research has determined they should be separated into their own genus, Mandrillus. The mandrill is the world’s largest species of monkey. Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man that “no other member in the whole class of mammals is colored in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrills.”
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  6. Gelada Baboon
    File:Geladas.jpg
    The gelada (Theropithecus gelada), sometimes called the gelada baboon, is a species of Old World monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands, with large populations in the Semien Mountains. Theropithecus is derived from the Greek root words for “beast-ape.” Like its close relatives the baboons (genus Papio), it is largely terrestrial, spending much of its time foraging in grasslands.
    Links: Top Ten Ethiopian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelada,
  7. Spider Monkey
    File:Ateles fusciceps Colombia.JPG
    Spider monkeys of the genus Ateles are New World monkeys in the subfamily Atelinae, family Atelidae. Like other atelines, they are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil. The genus contains seven species, all of which are under threat; the black-headed spider monkey and brown spider monkey are critically endangered. Their disproportionately long limbs and long prehensile tails make them one of the largest New World monkeys and gives rise to their common name. Spider monkeys live in the upper layers of the rainforest, and forage in the high canopy, from 25 to 30 m (82 to 98 ft). They primarily eat fruits, but will also occasionally consume leaves, flowers, and insects. Due to their large size, spider monkeys require large tracts of moist evergreen forests, and prefer undisturbed primary rainforest. They are social animals and live in bands of up to 35 individuals but will split up to forage during the day. Recent meta-analyses on primate cognition studies indicated spider monkeys are the most intelligent New World monkeys. They can produce a wide range of sounds and will ‘bark’ when threatened; other vocalizations include a whinny similar to a horse and prolonged screams. The IUCN Red List lists one species as vulnerable, four species as endangered and two species as critically endangered.
    Links: Top Ten Most Intelligent Animals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_monkey,
  8. Philippine Tarsier
    File:Tarsius Syrichta-GG.jpgFile:Bohol.tarsier jtlimphoto.JPGFile:Angrytarsier.jpgFile:Babytarsier.jpg
    The Philippine tarsier (Carlito syrichta), known locally as mawmag in Cebuano/Visayan and mamag in Luzon, is a species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It is a member of the approximately 45 million year old family Tarsiidae, whose name is derived from its elongated “tarsus” or ankle bone. It is the only member of the genus Carlito, after the species was removed from the genus Tarsius. The new genus is named after Carlito Pizarras, known as the tarsier man, is the field manager at the Philippine tarsier and wildlife sanctuary on the island of Bohol, and a champion of tarsier conservation in the Philippines. Its geographic range also includes Maripipi Island, Siargao Island, Basilan Island and Dinagat Island. Tarsiers have also been reported in Sarangani, although they may be different subspecies. It was only introduced to Western biologists in the 18th century.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Tarsier,
  9. Japanese Macaque
    File:Jigokudani hotspring in Nagano Japan 001.jpgA
    The Japanese macaque is a terrestrial Old World monkey species native to Japan. It is also sometimes known as the snow monkey because it lives in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year, no primate, with the exception of humans, is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder climate. Individuals have brown-grey fur, red faces, and short tails.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_macaque,
  10. Proboscis
    File:Portrait of a Proboscis Monkey.jpg
    The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or long-nosed monkey, known as the bekantan in Malay, is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey that is endemic to the south-east Asian island of Borneo. It belongs in the monotypic genus Nasalis, although the pig-tailed langur has traditionally also been included in this genus – a treatment still preferred by some. The monkey also goes by the Malay name monyet belanda (“Dutch monkey”), or even orang belanda (“Dutchman”), as Indonesians remarked that the Dutch colonisers often had similarly large bellies and noses. This species of monkey is easily identifiable because of its unusually large nose.
    Links: Top Ten Unique Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proboscis_Monkey,
  11. Lemurs
    File:Indri indri 001.jpg
    Lemurs are a clade of strepsirrhine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. The word “lemur” derives from the word lemures (ghosts or spirits) from Roman mythology and was first used to describe a slender loris due to its nocturnal habits and slow pace, but was later applied to the primates on Madagascar. Lemurs arrived in Madagascar around 62 to 65 mya by rafting on mats of vegetation at a time when ocean currents favored oceanic dispersal to the island. Since that time, lemurs have evolved to cope with an extremely seasonal environment and their adaptations give them a level of diversity that rivals that of all other primate groups. Until shortly after humans arrived on the island around 2,000 years ago, there were lemurs as large as a male gorilla. Today, there are nearly 100 species of lemurs, and most of those species have been discovered or promoted to full species status since the 1990’s. Ranging in size from 30 g (1.1 oz) to 9 kg (20 lb), lemurs share many common, basal primate traits, such as divergent digits on their hands and feet and nails instead of claws (in most species). However, their brain-to-body size ratio is smaller than that of anthropoid primates. Lemurs are generally the most social of the strepsirrhine primates and communicate more with scents and vocalizations than with visual signals. Many lemur adaptations are in response to Madagascar’s highly seasonal environment. Lemurs are important for research because their mix of primitive characteristics and traits shared with anthropoid primates can yield insights on primate and human evolution.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemur,
  12. Gibbon
    File:Hylobates lar pair of white and black 01.jpgFile:Witwanggibbon M.jpgFile:Suneko - shout (by).jpgFile:Hylobates lar - Kaeng Krachan WB.jpgFile:Agilegibbon.jpgFile:Hylobates lar sitting on a stump over water.jpg
    Gibbons are apes in the family Hylobatidae. Gibbons live in tropical and subtropical rainforests from northeast India to Indonesia and north to southern China, including the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java. Also called the lesser apes, gibbons differ from great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans) in being smaller, exhibiting low sexual dimorphism, in not making nests, and in certain anatomical details in which they superficially more closely resemble monkeys than great apes do. But like all apes, gibbons evolved to become tailless. Gibbons also display pair-bonding, unlike most of the great apes. Gibbons are masters of their primary mode of locomotion, brachiation, swinging from branch to branch for distances of up to 15 m (50 ft), at speeds as high as 55 km/h (34 mph). They can also make leaps of up to 8 m (26 ft), and walk bipedally with their arms raised for balance. They are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals. Depending on species and gender, gibbons’ fur coloration varies from dark to light brown shades, and anywhere between black and white. It is rare to see a completely white gibbon. Gibbon species include the siamang, the white-handed or lar gibbon, and the hoolock gibbons.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbon,
  13. Bonus: Gigantopithecus
    Gigantopithecus, “Giant Ape,” is an extinct genus of ape that existed from roughly nine million years to as recently as one hundred thousand years ago, in what is now China, India, and Vietnam, placing Gigantopithecus in the same time frame and geographical location as several hominin species. The fossil record suggests that individuals of the species Gigantopithecus blacki were the largest apes that ever lived, standing up to 3 m (9.8 ft), and weighing up to 540 kg (1,200 lb).
    Links: Top Ten Largest Animals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus,
  14. Howler Monkey
    File:Jouvenile howler monkey picking a berry in costa rica.jpg
    Howler monkeys (genus Alouatta monotypic in subfamily Alouattinae) are among the largest of the New World monkeys. Fifteen species are currently recognized. Previously classified in the family Cebidae, they are now placed in the family Atelidae. These monkeys are native to South and Central American forests. Threats to howler monkeys include human predation, habitat destruction and being captured for captivity as pets or zoo animals.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howler_monkey,
  15. Cebidaes
    File:Capuchin Costa Rica.jpgFile:Baker.jpgFile:Common.squirrel.monkey.arp.jpgFile:Cebus albifrons edit.jpg
    The Cebidae is one of the five families of New World monkeys now recognized. It includes the capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. These species are found throughout tropical and subtropical South and Central America.
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  16. Emperor Tamarin
    File:Tamarin portrait.JPG
    The mantled guereza is a black-and-white colobus, native to much of west central and east Africa, including Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Chad. The species consists of several subspecies that differ in appearance. It has a distinctive appearance which is alluded to in its name; the long white fringes of hair the run along each side of its black trunk are known as a mantle. Its face is framed with white hair and it has a large white tail tuft. The emperor tamarin, Saguinus imperator, is a species of tamarin allegedly named for its resemblance to the German emperor Wilhelm II. It lives in the southwest Amazon Basin, in east Peru, north Bolivia and in the west Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas. The fur of the emperor tamarin is predominantly grey colored, with yellowish speckles on its chest. The hands and feet are black and the tail is brown. Outstanding is its long, white mustache, which extends to both sides beyond the shoulders. The animal reaches a length of 23–26 cm (9–10 in), plus a 35–41.5 cm (14–16.3 in) long tail and weighs approximately 500 grams (18 oz). This primate inhabits tropical rain forests, living deep in the forest and also in open tree-covered areas. This diurnal species walks or runs quadrupedally through the forest, spending the majority of its days in the trees with quick, safe movements and broad jumps among the limbs. The emperor tamarin lives together in groups of eight to ten individuals. The oldest female leads the group above several mature males. Mutual grooming plays an important role for bonding and socializing. The emperor tamarin is known to form mixed-species associations with the brown-mantled tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis). It has various cries which help them to promptly recognize interlopers.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_tamarin,
  17. Mantled Guereza
    File:Colobuses in Murchison Falls National Park.JPGFile:Black-and-white Colubus.jpg
    The mantled guereza is diurnal and arboreal, found in both deciduous and evergreen forests. It is an adaptable species that can cope with habitat disturbance and prefers secondary forest close to rivers or lakes. Although previously thought only to eat leaves, it also eats seeds, fruits, and arthropods. It is able to digest plant material with a high fibre content with its specialized stomach and may only eat from a few plant species at a time. It is preyed on by birds of prey and some mammals such as the common chimpanzee and the leopard. The mantled guereza lives in social groups of three to fifteen individuals. These groups normally include a dominant male, several females, and the offspring of the females. It has a polygynous mating system and copulation is initiated with vocal communication. The mantled guereza is well known for its dawn chorus, the males’ “roar” is a method of long distance communication which reinforces territorial boundaries. It also makes other vocalization and uses body postures, movements, and facial expressions to communicate.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantled_guereza,
  18. Links: Animals, Top Ten Most Intelligent Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primates,