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Non-human Primates

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Lemurs are an example of a type of non-human primate. They are relatively small in size, and many of them have a snout. All of them have a hairless, wet nose with curved nostrils. This unique nose makes them special and great sniffers. They have 5 digits on their hind and front limbs. The tail of lemurs is not prehensile and, depending on the species, varies in its length. Also depending on the species, lemurs have soft fur that ranges in color (red-brown, grey, white, brown, and black) and bright, circular big eyes. Some lemurs have a specialized anatomy that others lack. One example would be the aye-aye lemur. The aye-aye has a specialized, tailored middle finger made for searching and taking out grubs. The unique finger is very skinny and exposed.

The finger is curated to squeeze into tiny holes that the aye-aye had previously gnawed. In terms of lemur ecology, each type of lemur habitat varies on the given terrain. Most lemurs live in Madagascar, and they have evolved to exist in many varying niches from semi-deserts to rain forests. Most lemurs spend a majority of their time in trees, feeding, sleeping, and even giving birth. An exception to this however are the ring-tailed lemurs who spend the majority of their time on the ground. A specific species, the Alaotran gentle (aka the reed lemur) is very specialized compared to the others. It has adapted to live its life in the eastern region of Madagascar in a marshland habitat surrounding a lake, using its days moving through the region on papyrus stalks and reeds. In regards to diet, smaller lemurs eat fruit and insects while larger lemurs eat leaves and flowers.

Another non human primate are bonobos. Bonobos used to be thought by scientists as a smaller chimpanzee, but they are actually very different. For example, although bonobos and chimpanzees are around the same size, bonobos are more slender and have smaller ears and heads. Bonobos are more comfortable with upright walking versus chimpanzees. Bonobos also have a white patch on their rump for all of their life, while for chimpanzees the patch darkens over time. Bonobos also part their hair neatly down the center of the head. In regards to size, the average full adult bonobo is 2.3 to 2.7 feet. Female bonobos weigh about 68 pounds while males are a bit heavier weigh about 86 pounds. Their ecology is limited as they are only found in one region. They can be spotted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is a tiny country in Africa.

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Bonobos live in the rain forests of the Congo Basin. They are attracted to old growth trees with changing fruit through the different seasons. In regards to their diet, they forage their food from the forest basin floor and from the trees. They often share the food that they have found with the others and work together to build their sleeping nests. A couple of scientists believe that the intelligence of bonobos is unparalleled compared to all of the other primates that exist. Scientists have inferred this because of the similarities they have to humans such as teaching social skills to their young, getting food by the use of tools, and collaborative working.

Lastly, another non human primate are vervet monkeys. They are a fairly small and very agile species and most of them have a greenish tint to their fur color. They also have distinctive white eyebrows and black faces, hands, and feet. These monkeys can also be distinguished by their white fur on their bellies and cheeks, and blue skin on their abdomens. They move quadrupedally while traveling and this helps them to be skilled on both the ground and in trees. The vervet monkeys are considered to be a very widespread African primate that can readily and seamlessly adapt to a multitude of habitats. Since they are so small, the monkeys live in groups of up to 30 individuals all along the edge of forests, swampy habitats, and even elevations up to 6,300 feet in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since these primates drink water regularly, they base their determination for a home off of proximity to a water source. The best home for the vervet monkeys are in tall trees since they provide safety from the animals below who might want to eat these primates. These primates are extremely social and they rely on communication to maintain their social complexes. Vervet monkeys rely on sounds such as barks and cries and body language such as raising and lowering of the eye brows to caution a threat. They also communicate by grooming and picking through each others fur searching for dirt of bugs. By grooming each other and becoming more intimate through that process, ties are strengthened between the monkeys.

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Non-human Primates. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 19, 2022, from
“Non-human Primates.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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