Get to know your Primates & Gorillas


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Published: April 15th 2011
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Did you know that there is no single feature that makes an animal a primate, but rather a suite of features that together make primates unmistakable.

Most primates possess the following six key charachteristics, although a few species do not posses them all of them.
* FORWARD FACING EYES:
Both eyes point forwards, in the same direction allowing primates to perceive a three-dimentional view of whatever
they look at, although they are unable to look behind them withough turning their head.
* EYE SOCKETS:
The eyeball sits inside a solid, protective ring of bone called the orbit.
* GRASPING HANDS:
One digit grips against the other, enabling primates to have a firm grasp.
* NAILS:
Fingers and toes end in a flat nail to protect against the sensitive tip.
* FINGERTIPS:
The skin on the fingertips and underside of the hand is bare and covered in a pattern of tiny ridges, which are
unique to each individual.
* LARGE BRAINS:
Large cerebral hemispheres give primates higher intelligence, the ability to learn and a complex repertoire of
behaviours.

A notable difference between apes and monkeys is the shape of their rib-cage and the lenght of their arms, both of which are adaptions for swinging beneath the branches. (called branchiation)
Monkeys have a ribcage that is flattened from side to side, with shoulder blades on the sides, which is suites to walking on all fours on branches.
Apes on the other hand are barrel-chested, with shoulder blades on the back, giving more movement to the arm for branchiation.



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