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Studying mammals: Life in the trees
David Attenborough looks at ‘life in the trees’: examining how species have evolved to...
David Attenborough looks at ‘life in the trees’: examining how species have evolved to cope with arboreal living. You will learn how lemurs, anteaters, bears and many others have developed different methods to help movement and survival.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- identify the common features shown by tree-dwelling mammals from different groups;
- show an awareness of the difficulties of classifying primates, especially in relation to the position of the prosimians;
- give an account of opportunities and challenges encountered by tree-dwelling mammals and of evolved adaptations linked with arboreal life;
- provide examples of the closeness (and sometimes interdependence) of the relationship between tree dwellers and their habitat;
- be aware of differences in lifestyle and forms of locomotion amongst a wide range of prosimians;
- give examples of adaptive radiation amongst the Madagascan lemurs;
- describe differences in lifestyle (e.g. feeding habits) amongst lemurs, including features linked with their arboreal life.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Life in the trees
- 2 Problems of life in the trees
- 3 Introducing the primates
- 4 Galagos, lorises and pottos
- 5 Lemurs and their origin
- 6 Reflection
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Studying mammals: Life in the trees
This unit will introduce you to the wide-ranging types of mammals that live in the trees. You will learn how they thrive in this demanding environment, with the help of a range of intriguing adaptations related to their unusual life-styles.
This is the eighth in a series of units about studying mammals. To get the most from these units, you will need access to a copy of The Life of Mammals (2002) by David Attenborough, BBC Books (ISBN 0563534230), and The Life of Mammals (2002) on DVD, which contains the associated series of ten BBC TV programmes. This unit contains samples from the DVD set. You should begin each unit by watching the relevant TV programme on the DVD and reading the corresponding chapter in The Life of Mammals. You will be asked to rewatch specific sequences from the programme as you work through the unit.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Studying mammals (S182) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Natural History courses or view the range of currently available OU Natural History courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 3rd September 2013
Last updated on: Tuesday, 3rd September 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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