The Evolution of Primate Intelligence

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One of the main reasons why we are so interested in the other primates is that by looking at them we can obtain some ideas of what our ancestor must have been like a few millions years ago. Even though, we are not descended from any modern-type monkey or ape, our lineage does appear to have gone through stages in which we were a medium-sized, reasonably intelligent creature with good binocular vision, hands that were good at manipulation and the ability to climb trees. An evolutionary trend in primates involves the development of offspring both before and after birth and their integration into complex social systems. Another trend in primate evolution has been toward a more elaborate brain. In addition to brain size and gestation periods,…show more content…
In general gestation periods for primates are relatively long, allowing for the development of a more complex brain. Also the more sophisticated species exhibit longer infant and juvenile stages, which are related to the time required for a more advanced mental development. Primates usually have a closer infant/mother bond and a longer childhood than other animals. During the time a primate is an infant and child it learns from its mother of how to survive in the environment. Primates also learn what to eat, where to find food, how to eat different foods, mating rituals, social structure, and females also learn maternal behavior. While still in the uterus, the brain starts growing. Thus the longer the gestation period, the larger the relative size of the brain will be in the infant. It is assumed that the more time spent in infancy and childhood, the more an animal learns. There is a direct correlation to length of the gestation period, infancy and childhood development, and lifespan in primates.

Due to the higher degree of intelligence, different types of primates engage in different complex social groups. The three main ways to group primate societies are monogamous, polygynous and multi male multi female groups.

Monogamous System

An example of the monogamous system is gibbons. Monogamous system consists of one male and one female join to rear at least a single brood. There is little opportunity to form relationship besides the one with the mate, so
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