Primates exam 1, 2/2011        Always pick the “best” answer; guess if not certain.


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

a- baboon   b- loris   c-  macaque   d- gibbon   e- chimpanzee


Which of these primates has hindlimbs that evolution has most specialized, making them most different from their respective forelimbs?

a- orangutans

b- gibbon

c- chimpanzee

d- humans


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 Asian apes below is the most arboreal?

a- orangutan

b- loris

c- howler

d- bonobo


The notion of “fitness” in regard to a trait like the ability to recognize faces might be best assessed by:

a- measuring the size of the organism

b- correlating that ability with the number of surviving offspring of the organism

c- correlating that ability with body size of the organism

d- correlating that ability with the intelligence of the organism


Which of these non-human primates is particularly noted for its use of non-reproductive sex in a wide variety of social and stressful settings?

a- lemur     b- gorilla        c-   simiang     d- bonobo   e- macaque


The general idea that species differences—for example leg length 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-    podiatry


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


Dominance contests between male gorillas generally do not result in life-threatening damage on the competitors except _____

a- in mountain gorilla contests

b- when bites become infected

c- when one gorilla chokes the other

d- when the gorillas are fighting over a desirable female


Fossil examples of the earliest prosimian-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- the structure of her pelvis and limbs indicate she was a quadraped.

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.


The nonhuman primate population of the island of __________ consists entirely of lemurs, most of which are not found elsewhere.

a- Madagascar

b- Borneo

c- Manhattan

d- Honshu


What would you most likely expect to find upon examining the brain functions of monkeys with and without a prehensile tail?

a- no significant differences

b- the brains of the “prehensile” monkeys are smaller

c- the brains of the “prehensile” monkeys have a relatively larger sensori-motor area devoted to their tail.

d- their brains do not control their tails at all.


What is anthropomorphism?

a- the study of human body shape

b- the tendency for all primates to look as if they are genetically related

c- the belief that humans are intellectually superior to other animals

d- the tendency to project human features onto non-human things


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


Which ape species is most likely to have a female group leader?

a- bonobo

b- chimpanzee

c- gorilla

d- orangutan

e- no apes have female group leaders



Which of all these species observed in “life in the trees” seem to be the most terrestrial?

a- bonobo

b- common chimp

c- gorilla

d- orangutan


In many species of primates, females have a smaller body size than males.  Such characteristic differences in body size are known as ___________.

a- sexual dimorphism

b- neoteny

c- paedomorphosis

d- allometry


In the 3 to 4 million years that bipedal human ancestors first lived in Africa, the brain size of  these creatures ___.

a- remained the same

b- doubled

c- tripled

d- increased by more than 10 times.



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


Current thinking on human origins based on DNA analyses places modern humans originating in Africa around ___ years ago.

a- 1,000,000

b- 100,000

c- 10,000

d-  5000


Remarkably, Darwin proposed 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- He knew mitochondrial DNA inherited from mother to mother originated in Africa, not Asia.

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

c- Asian apes did not use complex vocal communication and there were no apes in Australia.

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 a recent “what’s new” item, the male  _____________ produces the most sperm of any other ape.

a- gibbon

b- chimpanzee


d- orangutan


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, e.g. shape of head & jaw. This phenomenon is known as ________?

a- convergence

b- Lamarckism

c- neoteny

d- selection


Which one of the following is the most recently 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- color vision


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


Which of the following primate species is NOT a native of the New World (central or south America)?

a- capuchin

b- tamarin

c- squirrel monkey

d- simiang

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

1 behavior from physical structure

a) Above is the bottom side of two skulls.  What is the name of the dark spot where the spine is inserted (1 point)?  ___________________

b) Which of the two creatures (left or right) is most likely to be the most capable to engage in bipedal locomotion?  (1 point)

c) Briefly explain your answer in (b) about the left or right skull  (2 points)







2) brain and tools

What are two major changes that occurred in our human ancestors after the bipedalism of “Lucy”—the Australopithecus afarensis bipedal fossil over 3.2 million years old—that led to modern humans highly skilled at tool creation and use?  (two points each)  Be specific; include some details on each change that might explain why apes have far less tool capacity than humans.













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) flexibility of behavior

Apes and humans are said to have “flexibility of behavior.”  What does this mean?  Give an example. Suggest at least one feature of primates that enables this flexibility.  Say why this feature relates to “flexibility of behavior.”





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.








7) common and bonobo chimpanzee differences


a) What was the most significant behavioral difference relating to diet between these closely related chimp species as seen in our “New Chimps” video recently? (3points)




b) Speculate, in a sentence or two, on why this difference is observed.  (1 point).






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!  You must discuss these issues.)

1 Compare and contrast gorillas and orangutans with respect to their sensory systems, limbs and locomotion, brain features, and social & reproductive structures and patterns. (6 points) 

Then discuss briefly the "synergy" among the various characteristics --that is how they fit together enabling adaptation to distinct niches. (2 points)

For each species, close with a distinct one sentence comparison with humans suggesting one feature that is most similar to humans. For example, if the comparison were about chimps and humans, you might say both species engage in group hunting . (2 points)

(Be sure to say something about each of these features for each of your primates; if they are not different on some dimension, say so. 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.