The Proliferation And The Demise Of Primate Species From The Paleocene Epoch
1219 WordsJul 9, 20155 Pages
From the trees to the grasses to the microbes to the animals, all life on earth is interconnected. Just as the trees are connected to the microbes in the dirt, the climate is connected to every living thing on this planet. The success of animals has always depended on the success of plants, known as the producers in the food supply chain. The changing climate has had a powerful effect upon evolution, including the evolution of primates. This essay explores the proliferation and the demise of primate species from the Paleocene Epoch to the Miocene Epoch by comparing and contrasting the physical and behavior differences between the primates of each period and how the ecological conditions of the period allowed for their selection.
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All animals were competing for the food sources that remained, but animals with a lower energy requirement were favored for in the conditions. The death of the dinosaurs led to the freeing up of environmental niches that smaller mammals began to fill. Adaptive radiation gave way to numerous mammals, including the Pleisiadapiforms which are believed to be the earliest proto-primates and thrived on a diet of fruit, flowers and insect-pollinators (Silcox, 2014). The evolution and proliferation of angiosperms and the insects that feed off of and pollinated the flowers would become a valuable food source for primates in the later Epochs. According to Hooker (2005), “the warm temperatures worldwide gave rise to thick tropical, sub-tropical, and deciduous forest cover around the globe (the first recognizably modern rainforests,” (as cited by New World Encyclopedia, 2008). “With no large grazing dinosaurs to thin them, Paleocene forests were probably denser than those of the Cretaceous” (New World Encyclopedia, 2008). The beginning of the Eocene Epoch was a period of continued global warmth and widespread rainforests continued to favor mammals that fed on plants and insects, including the Adapids and Omomyids. Research done by Gingerich (1980) indicates that Adapids exhibited sexual dimorphism and were larger than the Omomyids, ranging in size from .6-8 kg compared to .5g –