Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

Jim Ottaviani

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1250062934

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology―and to our own understanding of ourselves.
Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas in turn, and covering the highlights of their respective careers, Primates is an accessible, entertaining, and informative look at the field of primatology and at the lives of three of the most remarkable women scientists of the twentieth century. Thanks to the charming and inviting illustrations by Maris Wicks, this is a nonfiction graphic novel with broad appeal.

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rainforests, the ancestral home of the order Primates and the principal habitat of nonhuman primates today, are the evergreen broad-leaved trees that collectively form a closed canopy, so opaque to sunlight that the forest floor is in perpetual twilight. Epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants, such as trees) and thick-stemmed lianas (vines that are rooted in soil but which twine around and drape off trees), link one crown to another and provide aerial pathways for monkeys to pass from tree

mechanical assistance of a long tail and sensitive, grasping hands and feet with opposable thumbs and big toes to aid in climbing and to ensure stability on slender branches high above the ground. Active arboreal locomotion also requires a much more accurate judgment of distances than life on the ground; this is facilitated by the development of stereoscopic vision, the anatomic basis of visual judgments in depth. The forward-facing eyes of primates are adaptations for this type of visual

tactile sensitivity. As far as is known, no other placental mammal has them. Primates possess dermatoglyphics (the skin ridges responsible for fingerprints), but so do many other arboreal mammals. The eyes face forward in all primates so that the eyes’ visual fields overlap. Again, this feature is not by any means restricted to primates, but it is a general feature seen among predators. It has been proposed, therefore, that the ancestor of the primates was a predator, perhaps insectivorous. The

colonizers of nonarboreal habitats. The structural adaptations of primates resulting from locomotor differences are considered in more detail in the section Locomotion, but they do not prove to be very extensive. Primates are a homogeneous group morphologically, and it is only in the realm of behaviour that differences between primate taxa are clearly discriminant. It can be said that the most successful primates (judged in terms of the usual criteria of population numbers and territorial

to nearly 800 cc seem to characterize H. habilis. Left side view of KNM-ER 1813, a Homo habilis cranium found in 1973 at Koobi Fora, Kenya, and dated to some 1.9 million years ago. G. Philip Rightmire The skulls by and large have thin walls and are rounded, rather than low and flattened; they do not have the heavy crests and projecting browridges characteristic of later H. erectus. The underside of the cranium is shortened from the back of the palate to the rear of the skull, as in all later

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