Chapter Learning Objectives

Why Did Primates Emerge?

  • Define and contrast the three major hypotheses for the origin of primates.

The First True Primate: Visual, Tree-Dwelling, Agile, Smart

  • Describe the characteristics of plesiadapiforms. Explain why they are likely not related to higher primates.
  • Compare the euprimates with the plesiadapiforms in terms of skeletal anatomy.
  • Explain the differences between omomyids and adapids.

Evolution of the Euprimates

  • Explain the characteristics of basal anthropoids.
  • Discuss whether Africa or Asia is the ancestral home of higher primates.

Early Anthropoids Evolve and Thrive

  • Describe the environment in which early anthropoids existed.
  • Compare the three groups of primitive higher primates found in the Fayum.

Coming to America: Origin of New World Higher Primates

  • Explain at least one of the theories for how anthropoids came to South America.

Apes Begin in Africa and Dominate the Miocene Primate World

  • Describe the available fossil evidence for primates in the Miocene.
  • Visualize the geographical spread of Miocene apes.

Apes Leave Africa: On to New Habitats and New Adaptations

  • Compare the dryopithecids and the sivapithecids in terms of their anatomy and geographical distribution.
  • Describe the climate and habitat changes that occurred in the Miocene and how these affected apes.

Apes Return to Africa?

  • Explain the importance of apes’ moving back to Africa.

Monkeys on the Move

  • Describe the diversity of monkey species and their geographical spread.