The evolution of primates arose from the ancestors who used to live in tropical forests. Thus the characteristics of species diversity regarding non-human primates represent their adaptions to life in this uncertain environment (Kinzey, 2012). However, the species of most primates remains partially arboreal except for the human beings, who inhabit almost every part of the continent, whereas most non-human primates live in Africa and Asia’s tropical regions (Abee, 2012).
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Non-human primates exhibit a wide range of characteristics. For instance, some primates such as the baboons and the great apes are predominantly terrestrial rather than arboreal. However, all species diversity regarding non-human primate possess adaptations for climbing trees. Some of the locomotive techniques exhibited by the non-human primates include knuckle-walking and swinging from one branch of the tree to the other (Kinzey, 2012).
Additionally, the non-human primates are usually characterized by exceptional intelligence and better reliance on stereoscopic vision as a result of their dominant sensory system. However, exceptional intelligence and better reliance on stereoscopic traits are more advanced on great apes and monkeys and less notable in lemurs and the lorises (Abee, 2012). The three-color visual abilities and the sexuality dimorphic such as the body mass, the size of the canine tooth and the coloration also differs among species diversity with regards to non-human primates. Thus, primates with greater sizes have a slower rate of development to reach maturity and a longer lifespan, unlike those with smaller weights (Kinzey, 2012).
Primates range in different sizes with regards to the particular species classification they belong in. For instance, the weight of the Madame Bertha’s mouse Lemur is about 30 grams in contrast to over 440lbs weight of the Eastern Gorillas (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010).Therefore, according to the fossil evidence, the genus species of Teilhardina was the earliest known trues non-human primates dated to over 55.8 million years old (Kinzey, 2012).
Traditionally, the order of the non-human primates was categorized into two major groupings which include the prosimians and the anthropoids. The character traits of the prosimians are similar to those of the earliest primates such as the lorisoids, tarsiers and the Madagascar (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010). The category groupings of the anthropoids include the monkeys, apes and the hominins. However, the recent taxonomists have preferred to split the species diversity regarding non-human primates further into Strepsirrhini and the suborder Haplorhini.
Strepsirrhini is the wet-nosed primates, and they majorly consist of the non-tarsier prosimians. On the other hand, suborder Haplorhini represents the dry-nosed primates such as simians and tarsiers. Additionally, simians are further classified into two groups which include the catarrhine and the platyrrhine (Tomasello & Call, 2013). Catarrhine are the narrow-nosed monkeys and apes of tropical regions of Africa and the Southeast parts of Asia which includes the baboons, macaques, and gibbons. On the contrary, platyrrhine is the flat-nosed simians of the South and the Middle America’s tropical and subtropical regions. The platyrrhine consists of new world monkeys such as the howler, squirrel monkeys and the capuchin (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010).
The classification of primate lineage is divided into six significant superfamilies which include the Lemuroidea, Lorisoidia, and Tarsioidea. Additionally, the Ceboidea, Cercopithecoidea, and Hominoidea are among the six significant superfamilies of the primate lineage (Tomasello & Call, 2013). The family of Lemuroidea is characterized by closely spaced projecting canines and a claw on their second toes as opposed to the nail. Therefore, Lemuroidea consists of both woolly and sportive lemurs and the allies (Tomasello & Call, 2013).
Contrary to Lemuroidea, Lorisoidea primates are characterized very long legs and nails and large feet, hands, ears, and eyes. Most primates in Lorisoidea lineage are quadrupeds, and thus they include bush babies, lorises, and pottos (Kinzey, 2012). On the other hand, Tarsioidea is characterized leaping and clinging to vertical branches of trees and their nocturnal activity patterns. Tarsioidea primates consist of Tarsius eocaenus and the Hesperotarsius thailandicus (Tomasello & Call, 2013).
Cercopithecoidea, Ceboidea and the Hominoidea primates lived over 55 million years ago and consequently forms a single clade on the evolutionary stages of species diversity regarding non-human primates. Ceboidea is characterized by round and forward-facing nostrils and the upper and lower premolars on each side such as the squirrel and capuchin monkeys (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010). On the contrary, Cercopithecoidea includes the baboons and macaques which exhibits unique molar shapes and bilophodont. Finally, Hominoidea is mostly omnivorous primates, and thus have an excellent adaptation for chewing and digesting. Hominoidea primates consist of gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans (Tomasello & Call, 2013).
Although pro-simians and great apes are frequently used interchangeably, they’re not the same according to the scientific point of view. Pro-simians and Great apes are among the non-human primates that have evolved differently, with each exhibiting different physical and mental characteristics. However, they somewhat share similar traits, such as they are both from the same Animalia kingdom, mammal class and order of primates. Additionally, they all come from the same Haplorhini suborder and the simiiformes suborder (Abee, 2012).
In as much as the pro-simians and the great ape’s shares similar traits, they also have different characteristics. Although pro-simians can communicate with each other, great apes possess a more developed and sophisticated cognitive and language skills. They cannot speak like human beings. However, they can use sign language skills and other bodily gestures to communicate with each other effectively (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010). Also, based on the evolutionary and genetic terms, the species of great apes are much more close to human beings than the pro-simians. Great apes are more intelligent and can manage to exhibit human-like behavior as opposed to the latter (Platt & Ghazanfar, 2010).
Pro-simians and great apes differ on the lifespan perspective. Unlike, great apes which can live up to 60 years, pro-simians can only live up to 30 years. The body structure of great apes is also different from that of the Pro-simians. Contrary to great apes, pro-simians are characterized by large eyes and a more significant sensitivity of nocturnal vision, a strong sense of smell, complex tactile hairs and the large and independently movable ears (Kinzey, 2012).
Although monkeys exhibit the same external physical appearance, a close scrutiny on their physical appearance makes it easier to distinguish between the old and the new world monkeys. Old world monkeys are catarrhine, and thus narrow-nosed in contrast to the new world monkeys which are platyrrhine, and hence flat-nosed (Kinzey, 2012). Also, the nostrils of the old world monkeys are closer together and open downward, whereas the nostrils of the latter are far apart from each other and open sideways (Kinzey, 2012).
Additionally, there is a significant variance in size between the old world and the new world monkeys. Contrary to the new world monkeys which exhibits a smaller and medium-sized weights, old world monkeys are mostly large sized primates, and thus have greater weights (Kinzey, 2012). Unlike, the new world monkeys who are mainly tree dwellers, the latter have a wide and varied habitat such as the deserts and the rainforests.
In conclusion, I believe diversity exists between the species as a result of genetic variation which make up a particular species. Genetic diversity enables species which shares the same genetic characteristics to adapt to the changing environments (Abee, 2012). Thus, when the habitat changes, the species can be able to adapt to survive. The ability of the species to adopt to the changing environmental conditions determines their ability to cope with various challenges regarding the change of the environment. Therefore, genetic diversity is essential as it is vital in determining the survival and survival and adaptability of a particular species (Kinzey, 2012).
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