Animal Diaries Archive
Plight of the Primate- Part one
Primates are currently off display
22 February 2008
Mankind; we go about our daily lives, driving and working and subconsciously believing that we are the most evolved species compared to other animals. We use phones and cure disease. We defy gravity and travel faster than any other. We have colonised almost every part of the globe and forever changed the landscape more that any other animal before us. So by far, we must be the most advanced species. Yet, we are still a primate.
The word Primate, comes from the Latin word Primus, meaning ‘one of the first, excellent, noble’. But what does it mean to be a primate? Well, for starters, all primates have five fingers with an opposable thumb. Primates generally have fingernails rather than claws and have forward facing binocular vision. Yes, looking at myself in the mirror I have all of these attributes. I also have a generalized dental pattern, as do other primates and I also have what experts call a ‘primitive’ body plan, again like other primates. Mentally, I show a range of emotions such as anger and sadness, fear and joy. I show social behaviors like caring for loved ones and I grow and learn and retain information, all of which, other primates have the capacity to do. So what exactly is the difference between mankind, and other primates? Well to get quite technical, there is varying genetic, physical, mental and evolutionary differences between us and other primate species to but to put it simply, our brains are more highly developed. Unfortunately having the biggest brain does not always make us the best.
There are 625 primate species and subspecies alive today. Unfortunately, 25% of these are at risk of extinction as a direct result of mankind. Stay tuned for the next edition of Primates animal diaries to find out just how badly our fellow primates need our help and what threats they face in the wild.