Fall 07, 512 exam 1


Here are the common names of five primates.  Which one is the ape?

a- baboon   b- loris   c-  macaque   d- simiang   e- vervet


Darwin suggested back in 1871 that our human origins were in Africa and not Asia or Australia.  What best describes the evidence he used to make this inference?


a- DNA evidence pointed in that direction; especially mitochondrial DNA inherited from mother to mother.

b- the bipedal African ape fossils he examined on his trip aboard the Beagle, most resembled modern humans (Ch. 6, Descent of Man…”)

c- he discovered the fossil remains of a bipedal ape in 1846 on his trip aboard the Beagle.

d- he observed that in each region of the world the living mammals are closely    related to the extinct species of the same region. It was therefore probable   that Africa was formerly inhabited by extinct apes closely allied to the gorilla and chimpanzee; and as these two species are now our nearest relatives, it is somewhat more probable that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere. (Ch.6, Descent of Man....)"


According to the most recent evidence discussed in class and readings, humans and our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, had a common ancestor approximately ____ million years ago.

a- 20   b- 16  c- 6   d- 1    e- 1ŕ2 (one half)


Which of the following of our sensory systems is known as the “sixth sense” because of its low intrusion into our consciousness?

a- taste

b- proprioception





Which of the following apes seems to engage in the most non-reproductive sexual activities?


a- gorilla    b-  common chimp   c- bonobo chimp  d- baboon


Which one of the following women did not study primates in their natural habitat?

a-     Diane Fosse

b-    Berute Galdikas

c-     Jane Goodall

d-    Nadia Kohts


The general idea that species differences—for example head differences between chimps and humans -- occur by natural selection acting on the timing of growth patterns is known as ________.

a-     thermoregulation

b-    heterochrony

c-     paedomorphosis

d-    none of the above


Which of these features is NOT shared by most apes and humans?


a- color vision

b- forward facing eyes

c- grasping forelimbs

d- an unusually large olfactory apparatus, compared to their visual senses.

e - a relatively slow maturing, highly dependent single offspring


Recent research in the “news” compared abilities of human children ages 2 to 3, with chimps and orangutans of varying ages.  What best summarizes that research?

a-     humans exceed ape abilities primarily in social learning

b-    humans exceed ape abilities in both cognitive and social learning

c-     there were no differences found at the ages tested

d-    chimps exceed both orangutans and humans at several cognitive tasks


Fossil examples of the very early lemur-like primates have been dated as being around ______ million years old.

a- 550        b- 55    c- 5     d. 0.5


Primates  today, with the most notable exception of  the ________, seen in Life in the Trees video, are tropical species found natively close to the equator.


a- snow lorises

b- mountain gorillas

c- Japanese macaques

d- gibbons


The earliest known bipedal primate is the Australopithecus fossil known as "Lucy."  Which of the following statements is most likely to apply to Lucy?


a- her webbed feet suggests she lived in an aquatic environment.

b- her prehensile tail indicated she spent much time in trees.

c- she has a brain about three times the size of a chimpanzee’s brain today.

d- she is between 3 and 4 million years old.


Which was NOT one of the essential four points of Wallace & Darwin's proposal about evolution?


a- Organisms differ in ways that are inherited -- "variation"

b- More are born than can survive -- a "struggle for existence"

c- more advanced species such as apes evolved one after another from lesser species like monkeys in a continuous linear "chain" of life.

d- Certain inherited variants increase the chances of their carriers surviving and reproducing -- "natural selection"

e- Selection leads to the accumulation of favoured variants, which over a long period produce new forms of life -- the "origin of species"


What ape is most likely to engage in systematic hunting of monkeys?

a- bonobo  b- chimpanzee  c- gorilla   d- orangutan   e- simiang


Recent research into the demise of our close cousins, the Neanderthals, suggests that they lacked human agility because ___________

a-     their smaller brains could not control movement efficiently

b-    their feet were shaped more like orangutan feet—adapted for arboreal life.

c-     the semi-circular canals in their inner ear were surprisingly small

d-    their diet lacked sufficient meat to support quick movements


The dominant male orangutan in an area appears to keep in contact with his females and roaming males who may potentially challenge his dominance with the following behavior:


a- by raising and lowering of his eyebrows to signal acceptable or unacceptable behavior

b- by using his scented urine to mark his territory and indicate his presence

c- producing facial gestures including threat displays with his very large canine teeth

d- by using his powerful vocal calls that signal his presence and intimidate competitors


Which of the following is least likely to be true of orangutan females?

a- they are arboreal creatures, living almost entirely in trees

b- they build tree nests every night, sleeping in trees

c- they have an infant on average, every 3 years

d- they are very small compared to the much larger male orangutans


In all the video seen thus far in class, only the _______ has not been seen to use tools in a natural setting.


b- common chimp


d- humans


Which of all these species observed in class videos seem to be the most terrestrial?

a- bonobo

b- common chimp

c- gorilla

d- orangutan


Sexual dimorphism is jargon for size differences between males and females.  For example humans are slightly sexually dimorphic in favor of males and squids are hugely dimorphic in favor of females.  Of the apes below, which appears to be the most dimorphic in favor of males?

a- chimpanzees     b- gorillas   c-  bonobos  d- baboons


Humans surpass chimpanzees in certain tasks requiring manual dexterity and gripping objects.  Which of the following contributes most to the human advantage?


a- the more sophisticated structure of the human eye

b- maternal instruction in manual dexterity

c- the relationship between the human thumb and other fingers, especially the pinky

d- the extended length of the human middle finger 


While early philosophers wondered about the relationship of humans to animals, the existence of our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, was not known at all to western philosophers and naturalists until about 1700 AD when ___ described one, his Pygmie in detail (now pictured standing on my webpage).

a- Descartes

b- Kohler    

c- Tyson     

d- Weismann


We have seen that all large ape species have a dominant individual that determines such things as when the group moves.  In only one species – the _______ --- has a female been observed to fill this role.

a- bonobo   b- chimpanzee   c-  gorilla   d-  orangutan


What do most scientists today believe about the place of Neanderthals in the primate family ?

a- they were primates a bit larger than humans who are now extinct due to their inability to compete with dinosaurs.

b- they were the first bipedal ape.

c- Neanderthals were the ancestors of modern humans who emigrated from Africa over 500,000 years ago.

d- they were close cousins to humans who lived at the same time as early modern humans  until as recently as 35,000 years ago.


The most difficult problem in breeding gorillas in captivity was illustrated in the Gorilla video and is often true for the other apes.  This is  ___.


a- the difficulty obtaining the natural foods of wild gorillas

b- the un-natural competition among the males in a zoo or breeding colony seems to reduce their ability to maintain an erection.

c- the lack of adequate "mothering" experiences in females raised in captivity makes those females poor mothers

d- the aggressive tendencies of males who kill the infants


Gorillas kept in zoos, like Little Joe who escaped from the Franklin zoo in Boston a few years ago are generally the ___________ variety.

a- arboreal gorilla

b- lowland gorilla

c- mountain gorilla

d- urban gorilla


Primates generally, and humans in particular, differ from other mammals in that they retain many more of their juvenile characteristics into adulthood. This phenomenon is known as ________?


a- convergence

b- Lamarckism

c- neoteny

d- selection


Which one of the following is the earliest evolved distinctive human primate specialization separating us from our ape cousins.?

a- bipedal locomotion

b- spoken grammatical language

c- development of a brain larger than an ape's brain of comparable body size

d- greater digestive capacity for meat


Limber's "puppet metaphor"  -- imagining building a string controlled puppet -- in discussion of the relationship between brain and sensory-motor activities was intended to illustrate


a- how all primate brains have similar organization with nerves being modeled by puppet strings

b- how much information the brain must deal with in controlling certain types of movements

c- how elephants move their trunks

d- how neoteny shaped primates' brains in contrast to other mammalian brains


The recent experimental investigation (“News”) into sperm competition in primate males finds that chimpanzee sperm swim ______  gorilla sperm.  This makes sense considering the social and sexual structure of these different species.

a- faster than

b- at about the same speed as

c- slower than

d- none of the above


short answers- do any 3, 4 points each (we will only grade the first 3!!)

1) 3 functions of senses

We have discussed a number of functions served by primate sensory systems.  Briefly discuss three of these, using an example for each.  (Three functions, not three senses!)







2) behavior from physical structure

Give an example of how one might reasonably conjecture something important about the behavior of a primate from its physical structure (anatomy, etc.) Be sure to say why the structure suggests the behavior.  (e.g. wings suggest birds might fly because wings provide lift and power to fly.)






3) Common and unique features of apes & humans

 Briefly give examples of two unique traits or features shared by all apes and hominoids (including humans) but not typically shared by all other vertebrates.







4) What the heck is  “mechanicoelectrical transduction?”   Explain with an example of it in primates.







5) Disadvantages of large brains?

 Primates are characterized by relative large brains for their body size compared with other mammals.  Presumably then these size increases offset what disadvantages a larger brain brings with it.  What are two likely disadvantages of having a larger brain, other things being equal?







6) extended childhood?

Primates, especially apes and humans, tend to have longer periods of remaining in infant and juvenile periods. What advantages are there in this extended "childhood?" (Gomez, 2004, 16-24) also class discussion and videos.





Essay (use lined paper, 2 pages max- sketches/tables don’t count toward the 2 page limit but lists and tables alone do not count as an essay!)

1 Compare and contrast two existing large primate species with respect to their sensory systems, limbs and locomotion, brain features, and social structures. Then discuss briefly the "synergy" among the various characteristics --that is how they fit together enabling adaptation to distinct niches.  Put another way – compare and contrast two species of large primates ( compare/contrast any two of orangutans,  gorillas, common chimps, bonobos, and humans  on five dimensions.)


(Be sure to say something about each of the five features for each of your primates; then say how those features work together --the synergy-- to enable those species to "fit" well into their niches. (I think a niche originally meant a hole in the wall where birds could build a nest.))