African Primates Course
Monkeys can be divided into the Old World Monkeys and New World Monkeys, which is primarily a geographic distinction, whereby the Old World Monkeys are found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The most significant distinction to be made within the primates is the difference between “monkeys” and “apes”. However, there are three types of primate, the prosimians, the monkeys and the apes. Prosimians are considered the most primitive of the primates and comprise the Strepsirrhini including the lemurs, galagos and lorises. Prosimians are thought to have evolved around the time of the dinosaurs (approx. 65 million years ago) and are therefore the most ancient living primates. This explains the meaning of their group’s name, which is “before the monkeys”. However, although they are an ancient group, they are not primitive as such but do retain many features of the earliest true primates. For example, they have large eye sockets, a small braincase and elongated snout, which are adaptations for acute hearing and smell. Grooming appears to be an essential part of prosimian life as they have two adaptations, especially for this activity. Prosimians have curious-looking structures on their lower front teeth, which appear comb-like and are used for grooming. Additionally, they have a specialised claw on one toe of their hind feet that is also used for grooming. The African Primate course studies biology, ecology, conservation and management of african primates.