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Since the semester has started, I
began to ponder a very thoughtful answer to a question that was brought up
during week five of our class discussion in Anthropology about chapter seven about
the different variety of primates such as gorillas, apes, bonobos, and
chimpanzees and how they behaved in different environments than humans do in
places such as zoos. I believe that they are some similarities
and differences of communication, early evolution, and brain structure
between Humans and Primates. I have realized in the textbook that humans have a
specific place among all primates. I wanted to find out if my answer is
completely true and can be proven through research on the net, books, and
observing them in the zoo.

 I am pleasantly surprised the human species
has some correlation with early primates in terms of physical variations. I
have decided to start at looking at the main Atlanta Zoo website page on
how a gorilla’s communication are different than humans and what I found was
interesting because humans have slightly better communication skills than
primates due to the complex anatomy of our throats combined with great
cognitive abilities of our brains that allows us to have an amazing breadth of
sounds and imbue them with purposeful distinction such as a snarky tone and  also the believe that civilization has also
contributed to our vocal skills. Primates are usually constrained by a
different throat anatomy, and has having the use vocalization in a much more
limited manner such as alarm calls or coos.

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However, I am managed to find on the
Atlanta Zoo Website that a recent observation and report from C.T Snowdon shows
that these anatomical, behavioral, and cognitive components are indeed
variously present across a variety of primates, but humans have inherited the
best of them.  There will be a new
research in the future that will be able to tell what another vocalization a
primate can make. I will now provide a second example of my research on the
internet on the social context of primate communication in the wild is
completely different than for humans. I also believe that there are other forms
of communication that primates use to distinguish themselves from humans by
creating a separate system of communication. The focus of the article “Animal Systems of Communication”, which I am using to support my
questions about primary behavior which lead me to columnist, Edward Vajda who supports my theory by explaining
to the reader that among apes, communication takes place within a single
social group composed of members of both sexes and of different ages who have
spent most of their lives together. 

There are two additional ways that
Edward Vajda demonstrates to us that primate communication is not even close to
human language than the system of other species such as bee and birds- it is
only a strictly limited non-creative system. (1) There is different meaning of
gestures that has a range from species to species, even slightly from the group
to group among the same species. For example: Edward Vajda observed from
different studies that monkeys use grimace to signal aggression and hostility,
while the chimpanzees bare their teeth as a form of greeting or faith. After
seeing and believing this statement, we can consider the fact that there is at
least one species of primates raised within the community of another species
which we will come to eventually comprehend as another o primate’s signals even
though that will only produce some signals of its own species.  This seems
to indicate that primate communication systems, like those of bees and birds,
are largely instinctive rather than learned.  (2) Also, Edward emphasized that
in an animal system, every animal including primates have their own sign
language that highlights a variety of different functions. For example,
gorillas in the wild have three types of signals which expresses danger, the presence
of food, and mating. Other primates such as the gibbon system of communication
consists of three signals: a signal for danger in the ground, in the tree, or
in the air. As a result, these signals between the two different types of
primates will not overlap in the overall meaning which can result in that
meaning being only expressed by that one sign.  However, on the other hand, signs in the human
language usually has more than one meaning, and every one of these meaning can
be expressed by more than one sign. To continue, there are only a few
similarities of communication, brain structure and early evolution between
Humans and Primates that I will give examples of in Chapter 7 of our
anthropology book these are the pages (107-123). The first thing that I learned
of the main similarities of expressions between humans and primates is that all
systems of communication contains some sort of sign language which are units of
forms with specific meaning. What I found interesting was that human languages
can contain sound symbols called words while animal language uses a more varied
formal technique, however each form is also a sign of conveying definite sounds
such as howls and whistles (108).  I am
now considering evolution and brain structure between humans and primates to
have the same homologies traits inherited from a common ancestor that can arise
when the species experience similar selective forces and are able to adapt to
them in similar ways like analogies which can be traits due to convergent
evolution (107). This is shown through observation that chimps and gorillas
share a more recent common ancestor with humans than they do with orangutan, which
leads scientists to put them in the hominid category referred as the zoological
family which includes fossils, living humans, chimpanzees, and their ancestors
(109). In addition, there are many trends in primate evolution that are best
amplified by monkeys, apes, and humans due to the several anatomical changes
that reflects the shift from smell to sight as the primates’ most important
means of obtaining information. Primates have excellent stereoscopic and color
vision. Lastly, primates and human have different brain complexities where the
proportion of the brain tissue concerned with memory, thought, and association
has been increased over the years as the primate ratio of brain size exceeds
most mammals (109). In general, we know now from cognitive studies and
abilities in sign language that many primates demonstrably have the brain power
for language.

Finally, I visited the Atlanta Zoo to
see if primates display a similar or different behavior in social setting,
territory, and adapting to other environments. I was very intrigued and amazed
of how much of the research that I did and reading chapter 7 had given me
insight on how primates were behaving in a new environment. My first
observation was looking at the group of gorillas that were running around in
the zoo while being kept close together like a pack/family. Most of the time
spent, gorillas were being feed all types of food like plants, fruits, and
other vegetable while sharing their meal with other gorillas. I also noticed
that gorillas thrive very well in social groups like troops which consists of
multiple males and females of their own offspring (114). These troops have a
great stable relationship which protects them from predators and other dangers
in the zoo. Next, I was able to move on to the next primate which were chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees are closely related to humans and gorillas, but they are better
adapted to other environments like rainforests. Second, I observed that
chimpanzees do not always stay together or interact all the time especially when
communities are split very often into smaller groups; either a mother and their
offspring which has young strong males. After more observation, I was able to
witness a scene where Chimpanzees thrive by being vocal when meeting more of
their species with gestures, facial expressions, and calls while hooting to
maintain contact during their rounds around the zoo. This proves that like
baboons, and monkeys – chimps exhibit dominance relationship through affection
and displacement especially with the females despite them being higher in rank and
not nearly as being dominant as the males. Finally, the last primate that I saw
in the zoo was the orangutans, but they were barely active and were only sleeping
and foraging alone like you predicted. But toward the end, they started with touching
and mutual grooming, and sitting within proximity of a female to either mate or
bond with other males. Overall, I had a great time at the zoo watching other
primates showing of human behavior such as being parents caring for their own
offspring, mating with others, socializing, communicating, eating, and surviving
in their own environment. To conclude, I was able to prove my point about
finding the answer to my question of stating some of the similarities
and differences of communication, early evolution, and brain structure
between Humans and Primates

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