Portal:Primates

The Primates Portal

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A primate is a member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains lemurs, the aye-aye, lorisids, galagos, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes, with the last category including great apes. With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent on Earth, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Primates range in size from the 30-gram (1 oz) pygmy mouse lemur to the 200-kilogram (440 lb) mountain gorilla. According to fossil evidence, the primitive ancestors of primates may have existed in the late Cretaceous period around 65 mya (million years ago), and the oldest known primate is the Late Paleocene Plesiadapis, c. 55–58 mya. Molecular clock studies suggest that the primate branch may be even older, originating in the mid-Cretaceous period around 85 mya.

Primates exhibit a wide range of characteristics. Some primates do not live primarily in trees, but all species possess adaptations for climbing trees. Locomotion techniques used include leaping from tree to tree, walking on two or four limbs, knuckle-walking, and swinging between branches of trees (known as brachiation). Primates are characterized by their large brains relative to other mammals. These features are most significant in monkeys and apes, and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs. Many species are sexually dimorphic, which means males and females have different physical traits, including body mass, canine tooth size, and coloration.

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The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates is a list of highly endangered primate species selected and published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC PSG), the International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI). The 2012–2014 list added the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF) to the list of publishers. The IUCN/SSC PSG worked with CI to start the list in 2000, but in 2002, during the 19th Congress of the International Primatological Society, primatologists reviewed and debated the list, resulting in the 2002–2004 revision and the endorsement of the IPS. The publication has since been a joint project between the three conservation organizations and has been revised every two years following the biannual Congress of the IPS. Starting with the 2004–2006 report, the title changed to "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates". That same year, the list began to provide information about each species, including their conservation status and the threats they face in the wild. The species text is written in collaboration with experts from the field, with 60 people contributing to the 2006–2008 report and 85 people contributing to the 2008–2010 report. The 2004–2006 and 2006–2008 reports were published in the IUCN/SSC PSG journal Primate Conservation, while the 2008–2010 and 2010-2012 report were published as independent publications by all three contributing organizations.

The 25 species on the 2012–2014 list are distributed between 16 countries. The countries with the most species on the list are Madagascar (six species), Vietnam (five species), and Indonesia (three species). The list is broken into four distinct regions: the island of Madagascar, the continent of Africa, the continent of Asia including the islands of Indonesia, and the Neotropics (Central and South America). Five species have been on all seven published lists: the silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus), grey-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea), and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus).

Selected picture

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A Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) by the Upper Rock Nature Reserve in Gibraltar. Although the species is commonly referred to as the "Barbary ape", it is in fact a monkey. The Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar is the last in the whole of the European continent. A popular belief holds that as long as Barbary macaques exist on Gibraltar, the territory will remain under British rule.

Primates News

Archives: 2009

2009

August

  • August 4 - Orangutans may be going deep to deter predators, and some are even using tools to sound more intimidating, a new study says. Read more
  • August 3 - The most malignant known form of malaria may have jumped from chimpanzees to humans, according to a new study of one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Read more

July

  • July 28 - Mani the monkey uses her own mysterious methods to tend dozens of goats without any supervision or training, according to the Associated Press. Read more
  • July 8 - Monkeys can form sentences and speak in accents—and now a new study shows that our genetic relatives can also recognize poor grammar. Read more

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Procolobus kirkii (Zanzibar red colobus)
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Endangered (IUCN 3.1)|Endangered

The Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is a species of red colobus monkey endemic to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, off the coast of Tanzania. It is also known as Kirk's red colobus after Sir John Kirk (1832-1922), the British Resident of Zanzibar who first brought it to the attention of zoological science. It is now classified as an endangered species and in the mid-1990s was adopted as the flagship species for conservation in Zanzibar. The population trend is still decreasing and because this species is only located in the archipelago, conservationists are attempting to work with local government to devise a proper, effective strategy to protect the population and habitat. The species has been reclassified twice; it was previously in the genus Colobus, and more recently in the genus Procolobus.

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