Portal:Primates

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The Primates Portal

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A primate is a member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains lemurs, the aye-aye, lorisids, galagos, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes, with the last category including great apes. With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent on Earth, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Primates range in size from the 30-gram (1 oz) pygmy mouse lemur to the 200-kilogram (440 lb) mountain gorilla. According to fossil evidence, the primitive ancestors of primates may have existed in the late Cretaceous period around 65 mya (million years ago), and the oldest known primate is the Late Paleocene Plesiadapis, c. 55–58 mya. Molecular clock studies suggest that the primate branch may be even older, originating in the mid-Cretaceous period around 85 mya.

Primates exhibit a wide range of characteristics. Some primates do not live primarily in trees, but all species possess adaptations for climbing trees. Locomotion techniques used include leaping from tree to tree, walking on two or four limbs, knuckle-walking, and swinging between branches of trees (known as brachiation). Primates are characterized by their large brains relative to other mammals. These features are most significant in monkeys and apes, and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs. Many species are sexually dimorphic, which means males and females have different physical traits, including body mass, canine tooth size, and coloration.

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The sublingua ("under-tongue") is a muscular secondary tongue found below the primary tongue in tarsiers and living strepsirrhine primates, which includes lemurs and lorisoids (collectively called "lemuriforms"). Although it is most fully developed in these primates, similar structures can be found in some other mammals, such as marsupials, treeshrews, and colugos. This "second tongue" lacks taste buds, and in lemuriforms, it is thought to be used to remove hair and other debris from the toothcomb, a specialized dental structure used to comb the fur during oral grooming. Tarsiers have a large but highly generalized sublingua, but their closest living relatives, monkeys and apes, lack one.

The sublingua is thought to have evolved from specialized folds of tissue below the tongue, which can be seen in some marsupials and other primitive mammals. Simians do not have a sublingua, but the fimbria linguae found on the underside of ape tongues may be a vestigial version of the sublingua.

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The white-fronted capuchin, Cebus albifrons, is a species of capuchin monkey, a type of New World primate, found in seven different countries in South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. The species is divided into several different subspecies, though the specific divisions are uncertain and controversial.

Primates News

Archives: 2009

2009

August

  • August 4 - Orangutans may be going deep to deter predators, and some are even using tools to sound more intimidating, a new study says. Read more
  • August 3 - The most malignant known form of malaria may have jumped from chimpanzees to humans, according to a new study of one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Read more

July

  • July 28 - Mani the monkey uses her own mysterious methods to tend dozens of goats without any supervision or training, according to the Associated Press. Read more
  • July 8 - Monkeys can form sentences and speak in accents—and now a new study shows that our genetic relatives can also recognize poor grammar. Read more

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Saguinus geoffroyi (Geoffroy's tamarin)
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Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)|Least Concern

Geoffroy's tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi), also known as the Panamanian, red-crested or rufous-naped tamarin, is a tamarin, a type of small monkey, found in Panama and Colombia. It is predominantly black and white, with a reddish nape. Diurnal, Geoffroy's tamarin spends most of its time in trees, but does come down to the ground occasionally. It lives in groups that most often number between three and five individuals, and generally include one or more adults of each gender. It eats a variety of foods, including insects, exudates, fruits and other plant parts. Insects and fruits account for the majority of its diet, but exudates are also important. But since its teeth are not adapted for gouging trees to get to the sap, it can only eat exudates when they are easily available. Although a variety of reproductive methods are used, the most common is for a single adult female in the group to be reproductively active and to mate with multiple adult males in the group. After a gestation period of about 145 days, she gives birth to either a single infant or twins. Males contribute significantly to care of the infants. Sexual maturity is reached at about 2 years, and it can live up to 13 years. Geoffroy's tamarin is classified as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.

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