Non-Human Primates

Learning Goal: I’m working on a anthropology discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Humans belong to the order of Primates, which we share with a diverse array of apes, monkeys, and prosimians. While archaeologists focus specifically on the material remains of tool-using humans (tools ranging from broken rocks to iPods), the study of non-human primates, both living and extinct, is extremely important for a full understanding of the human past.

For this assignment you will need to read two articles from Scientific American about non-human primates. PDF versions of these articles are available in the “Files” tab on Canvas under “Assignment #1 Readings.” Everyone must read “Planet of the Apes” and choose ONE among “Bonobo Sex and Society,” “Diet and Primate Evolution,” and “Why are Some Animals so Smart.” These articles are all available for download on the course Canvas website. You should also review your textbook. After reading these articles and digesting all of the information on non-human primates, write a 3-5 page paper discussing:

Based on “Planet of the Apes”:

  • Compare and contrast Miocene apes with modern apes and humans. What do scientists think caused the changes in apes at the end of the Miocene?
  • Why is it not entirely accurate to say that “man evolved from chimpanzee?”

Based on the other chosen article:

  • How does the study of living non-human primates help to understand human behavior? Give specific examples from the article.

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