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anthropology 2 questions


Question #1 (Chimpanzees and Bonobos)

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 In this Chapter, you were introduces to primate classification and taxonomy.  After reading the sections on Chimpanzees and Bonobos you will have seen some fundamental differences between them.  Discuss the differences and similarities of Bonobos and Chimpanzees.  Provide examples to support your statements.

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 Chimpanzees and Bonobos are species belonging to the genus Pan and a taxonomy known as Hominins, the super family where humans and apes belong. Both Bonobos and Chimps have the same fluid structure, where temporary smaller groups form within a larger community. When searching for food both species eat plants and animals, having a widespread diet. To live a primate life both Chimps and Bonobos must be flexible to difficult circumstances, injuries, new foods, social arrangements, and demographics. Although both species live this life style they differ in some ways. First the location of Chimpanzees is found in eastern and western Africa while Bonobos are in central and south Africa. Bonobos are built with shorter upper limbs and longer lower limbs, and a less rugged build then Chimps. When Bonobos socialize, bonds between females are strong and they play a big role in their society. Also, females of this species are willing to mate and have a high degree of sexual play between males and females.  Differ to Bonobos, Chimpanzees have stronger bonds within the males and are not known for a high degree of sexual play. Lastly, how both species survive and collect for food differs. Chimpanzees make literal tools to help find food. For an example, they prepare sticks to catch insects like termites and ants or leaf sponges to retain water from tree hollows. Since they also eat meat, male chimps hunt for it and kill it to share with the rest of their community. Bonobos have never been observed hunting for food with tools. Overall Chimpanzees are the most studied ape and Bonobos are getting an increase of observation in the wild and captivity.


    From observations of both Chimpanzees and Bonobos there are some similarities and differences between the two. Beginning with the similarities, Bonobos and Chimpanzees are from the same genus. Another similarity is their omnivorous diet of plant and animal substances. They general organization of their social groups is similar in the fact that they both form small, interchanging groups within a much larger group. 

        Despite the similarities in their group organizations, the bonding patterns of the two species appear quite different. For example, unrelated chimpanzee males can often be found forming a group, whereas this is not commonly observed among Bonobos. However, the relationships between Bonobo females, and opposite gender relationships are much stronger than that of Chimpanzees. This explains the greater role female Bonbos play in their societies. Lastly, Chimpanzees are distinguishable by their use of tools. They can be seen using sticks to catch termites, or using rocks to break nut shells. No such practice is seen among Bonobos.


Question #2 (Primate Evolution)

In your readings, you were introduced to patterns that exist in primate evolution across time.  What are 4 evolutionary trends that primates have had since they broke away from the rest of the mammalian class?  What is believed to have contributed to these trends from scientists?  Provide examples, when possible, to support your arguments.

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1.  Four evolutionary trends that have been traced overtime since the first primates evolved away from their mammalian ancestors was identified by W. E. Legos Clark (1963). The first one is a change in the brain.  The brain increased in size, relative to body size, and more complexity of the neocortex. Second, a reduction in the projection of the face and the dependence on the sense of smell. Third, and increase trust on the sense of sight, where the eyes relocated onto the front of the face so the visual field overlapped, where depth and perception was produced. Lastly, less teeth in the primates mouth. Clark himself argued that these trends where caused from adaptation to life in the trees. In contrast, Matt Cartmill (1972) argued the “visual prediction hypothesis.” He suggested that these evolutionary traits came from adaptation to feeding on insects at the ends of tree branches in tropical forest. He also suggests their vision improved because these primates fed at night and relied on sight to catch their food. A third argue comes from Robert Sussman (1991) and Katherine Milton (1993) that switching from insect predation to consuming plant parts lead to grasping of hands, color vision, larger brains, and more flexible behavior. Not all primates were affected by these four evolutions while some still are nocturnal and rely on smell rather than sight. 


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