Biology Homework Chapter 19: Primates
Textbook assignment:Chapter 19: Primate Evolution, sections 13-19.
Until the last ten years or so, Hominid referred to members of the Hominidae family in Linnaean taxonomy, and included humans but not chimpanzees, orangutans, or gorillas, which had their own family, Pongidae. With the progress in DNA sequencing and the realization that orangutans are more distantly related to gorillas and chimps than these two groups are to humans, there was shift to a new classification breakdown. Hominidae now includes all the great apes, and is broken down into subgroups that recognize the range of relationships from the closest-to-human chimpanzees to the furthest-from-human orangutans. The subfamily containing humans and the African great apes is further broken down into tribes, and Hominini includes only humans and their forebears (Neanderthals, homo erectus, some species of Australopithecus). Hence, in talking of the ancestors of homo sapiens, the appropriate term is now hominin, not hominid.
- 19.9 Be able to list the distinguishing characteristics between prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans. Major points of comparison are bone structure in hips, feet, and hands; use of the opposable thumb, and brain size.
- 19.10 Biologists place primates in three groups: Lemurs, Tarsiers, and arthropoids, which include monkeys, gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Lemurs (and lorises) have structures adapted to tree-living herbivores: their feet and hands are able to wrap around stems and hang on. Tarsiers are a small group with similar characteristics that suit arboreal, but nocturnal, creatures.
Be able to distinguish between gibbons, orangutans, gorilla, and chimpanzees. Similarities exist not only in structure and anatomy but also in behavior: apes form communities with social responsibilities. As with humans, infancy and adolescence lasts several years, which requires a support structure of adults to teach and protect the youngsters through development to maturity.
- 19.11 When studying the diagrams of human evolution, remember that these are interpretations of evidence that are hotly debated even among evolutionists. What kind of evidence is available? How reliable is it? What are problems in interpretation of the evidence? What assumptions must be made?
- 19.12 On what grounds do evolutionists assume that humans walked before they developed large brains? This is the kind of logical problem that faces evolutionists. By working through their reasoning, you should be able to identify what strengths and weaknesses their arguments present.
- 19.13 The most likely hominin from which humans could have descended is homo erectus, but there is no direct link from any particular group of these individuals to humans. Fossil remains close enough to our own to be considered part of the same species have been dated to about 300, 000 years ago, with "true" homo sapiens emerging 100,000 years ago. Two different theories are used to account for the rise of true homo sapiens.
- 19.14 Dates from fossil evidence support a position that human individuals originated in Africa and spread out across the Sinai Peninsula into Europe and Asia, and from Asia across the Bering Straits to the Western Hemisphere.
- 19.15 Discovery of a small hominin skeleton and other fossil evidence in Indonesia led to the classification of a new species (H.florensiensis) closely related to homo erectus by some biologists, while others believe they are a genetic variant of homo sapiens.
- 19.16 Skin color appears to be an adaption to UV intensities in geographically separate but similar environments, and cannot be used to establish phylogenetic relationships.
- 19.17 Identification of new species in the last two decades indicates a greater diversity of animal species than biologists suspected by the mid-20th century, many discovered as humans push further into previously undeveloped territory, disturbing habitats.
Read the following weblecture before chat: Human Evolution
Take notes on any questions you have, and be prepared to discuss the lecture in chat.
Perform the study activity below:
Chat Preparation Activities
- Essay question: The Moodle forum for the session will assign a specific study question for you to prepare for chat. You need to read this question and post your answer before chat starts for this session.
- Mastery Exercise: The Moodle Mastery exercise for the chapter will contain sections related to our chat topic. Try to complete these before the chat starts, so that you can ask questions.
- Required: Complete the Mastery Exercise with a score of 85% or better.
- Optional: Test yourself with the textbook multiple choice questions and note any that you miss that still don't make sense. Bring questions to chat!
- Go to the Moodle and take the quiz for this chapter.
Read through the lab for this week; bring questions to chat on any aspect of the lab, whether you intend not perform it or not. If you decide to perform the lab, be sure to submit your report by the posted due date.
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