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Monkeys have long fascinated us because of their similarities to the human race. In this free course, Studying mammals: The social climbers, you will find out about some of the characteristics that make them so like us: their physiology, complex social interactions, large brains and intelligence. This is the ninth course in the Studying mammals series.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- identify the charactistics of primates and explain the main differences between the two suborders, prosimians and anthropoids
- describe the detection of colour and estimation of distance in primates and explain the advantages of stereoscopic trichromatic vision
- discuss the various types of communication seen in anthropoids and explain how playback experiments contribute to understanding vocal communication
- compare and contrast adaptations in primates with adaptations in other mammals
- compare and contrast how species reduce the risk of predation and avoid competition with other species.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The anthropoids
- 2 Who are the anthropoids?
- 3 How do anthropoids differ from prosimians?
- 4 Living in a society
- 5 The primate brain
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Studying mammals: The social climbers
In this course we will focus on the Anthropoidea, a suborder of primates that includes monkeys, apes and humans. We will concentrate our attention here primarily on monkeys. Colour vision, a large brain and intelligence are of great importance in the lives of anthropoids, enabling them to eat foods inaccessible to many other animals and to exploit social situations. In this course, we will be looking at characteristics of primates that differ, or are enhanced, in anthropoids and discussing these attributes in relation to the evolution of the large anthropoid brain and the evolution of humans.
This is the ninth 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. OpenLearn course S182_8 Studying mammals: life in the trees contains samples from the DVD set. You should begin each course 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 course.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts 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: Wednesday, 16th March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 16th March 2016
- 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 and our FAQs section.
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