Monday, July 19, 2010

Primates and the Slender Loris

There's news today about photographs of a primate thought to have been extinct. It's called a Horton Plains slender loris, and it hasn't been seen since 1939.

The loris is a cute creature with huge eyes.

However, rather that just mentioning this discovery, which has little or nothing to do with proving evolution, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to describe what a primate is.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a primate is that they have opposable thumbs, like we do. Take this aye-aye, for instance ...


I never really thought about a whole group of creatures having opposable thumbs. Lemurs, monkeys, and apes all do. It's the most defining characteristic of primates, though there are others.

There's more information on primates at my Ape to Human evolution page.

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