Primates Exam Essay

Describe variation in primate social behaviors and the reasons for that variation.     

Primates display varied social behavior, even among members of similar species. Animals such as Orangutan display complex social behavior that closely resembles that of human beings. However, even among themselves, they display a wide range of differences. The differences displayed are as a result of gene-environment interactions as well as the need to adapt to local conditions. Behavioral displays across primates may differ depending on diet, group sizes, activity budgets, and social structures. Environmental selection pressures may act on some populations, thus, resulting in varying behavior when compared to other animals of the same species that are not experiencing the pressure (Strier 6). Primates are bound to compete for different elements that include group size, food competition, and dispersal patterns. Primates live in different locations and are thus environmentally impacted in varying ways. Groups that live in cold regions display social behaviors that are not similar to those in hot regions.

Describe the dietary differences between small and large primates? Include information on energy requirement.

There are dietary differences between large and small primates. The food substances taken by primates are generally divided into fruits, leaves, and fauna. The size of a primate affects the type of diet consumed. Smaller primates demand low energy compared to the larger primates. However, their food requirements are higher relative to their size. The small primates do not require much food. However, the foods that they consume need to be easy to digest to provide more energy for them. Large primates, on the other hand, need large quantities of food. Therefore, the food source for the large primates should be abundant to meet the high demands of the primates. The large primates have relatively lower energy demands and their food does not need to be of high quality, which makes it difficult to digest. Smaller primates, thus, survive on diets that are in less supply, such as insects, because they are easy to digest. Larger primates mainly consume leaves and bark of trees that are difficult to digest but are in abundant supply.

Provide detail on how insects and weather influence decomposition rates?

Insects and weather play a critical role in decomposition. High temperatures prevent decay due to destruction of enzymes and proteins. High temperatures also kill the organisms that contribute towards decomposition. Low temperatures, on the other hand, slow down the rate of decay due to a reduced rate of reaction of enzymes. The insects also play a vital role in decomposition since they are involved in tissue consumption. Larval insects gnaw holes in the tissues, which allow gases to escape. The carcass adopts a wet appearance due to liquefying of tissues. The carcass will also release a putrid smell. Maggots concentrate on feeding on the chest cavity of the animal. The insects consume all the flesh until the skeleton is left bare.

What are some of the costs and benefits of primate dispersal (leaving their natal group?

Primate dispersal has both costs and benefits. One of the main benefits is that the primate will mate with unrelated individuals. It reduces the negative effects that arise due to inbreeding, for example, inbreeding suppression. It also helps in reducing in-group competition for food. However, joining another group results in the loss of cooperative social relationships that had been established in the previous group.

Works Cited

Strier, Karen B. “What does variation in primate behavior mean?.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162 (2017): 4-14.

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