The primary features that define primates as a taxonomic order are mainly found in the skull and on the hands and feet. The reason for this has to do with the fact that the hands and feet and the head are the areas of the body that interact with the environment the most and as such are are subject to the greatest amount of selective pressures.
Nails, opposable thumbs, friction ridges among other are anatomical features that have been selected for within the primate lineage and assist in the survivability of young primates.
What you are doing
Your task is to explore a primate hand features and explain how that primate hand feature enhance fitness.
Before you begin your task make sure you do the following things
Read lecture notes on primate taxonomy and chapter 6:
What you have to do for points
Make sure you answer all of the following questions for full points.
- What does the arboreal hypothesis suggest about the reason why primates have the unique features, such as opposable thumbs, that they have on their hand?
- Explain how primate hand features increase fitness and give one example. When writing about your example name the hand feature that you have chosen and explain clearly why it increase fitness in a tree environment.
- Conjecture what would happen if a primate infant did not possess your chosen primate hand features. Answer this question with the survivability of the infant in mind.