Human beings are classified as mammals and as primates. Humans and apes belong to the same group of primates that is referred to as the Hominoidea. There are a range of similarities that are exhibited between the human beings and the apes which are inclusive of complex social relationships, capacity to utilize tools, large brain size to mention a few. This paper presents observational findings on the primates at Los Angela’s zoo on their interaction with the environment, hierarchy, social interactions among members and activities that they are involved in during the day. The observed behavior will then be compare with that of modern man.
At the Los Angela’s zoo, I made a close observation of two species of monkeys; black Howler and Geoffrey’s black-handed spider. Notable thing about both species of the monkey was that they were placed more than one in a cage and were in groups and all of them seemed to stay close together in their cage. The black howler monkey I observed were hanging on top all together. They seemed to be less active compared to the other species of monkeys and primates in the zoo as most of the time they were resting together. They also seemed to prefer walking and climbing that leaping that is generally associated with most monkeys. They produce low and guttering sound, which seemed to be a form of their communication. There was one of them that had a different color from others that were buff colored which I was made to understand to be male. It was golden in color. It produced a louder sound in comparison to its female counter parts.
Black howler monkeys are sexually dimorphic with the male being darker and much larger in size than the females. The females are buff colored and the infants either male or female are born buff and the males go on to become much darker in their later stages of development. They all however have a dark hairless face with prominent faces. Unlike the Black Howler monkeys these species of spider monkeys seemed a little more active. They looked at people keenly and even came closer to their cages to reach out to individuals who were trying to get their attention. Their “communication” involved much more sounds that those made by the black howler monkeys. They made a range of sounds including screams, whinnies, sequels and some kind of barks. Other forms of communication that is observed curled tail and arched back during fighting to send some kind of message to their opponent.
The black handed spiders like the howler monkeys seemed to prefer to stay on high positions although they also had a spot on the ground that I observed them stay at. When one of them made for a high position off their ground position the rest of them seemed to follow. I later learnt that that was the male monkey that and the rest that followed it for a higher position when it did when he females and the younger monkeys. They seemed to interact actively with things in their environments and also the people who had visited the zoo. It was evident as they jumped from one place to another. They came closer to the humans but when they felt threatened or unsafe they would go back to their spot. The interactions with one another was much more seen by cleaning one another making sounds that they seem to understand what it was meant for and moving together from one spot to the other within their confinement area within the zoo.
Behavior similarities between the primates and human beings
The first observable behavior similarity is in association of the primates among themselves which showed evidence of the need of company and association among them. The same can be compared with human society where they live together in groups by associating with one another at different levels in their society. The monkeys like human beings cultivate friendship among themselves through simple acts like cleaning each other’s far and sharing their food.
Like the human beings the monkeys also showed some form of communication. There communication however was not as refined as that of humans into speech. Their communication is trough different sounds that they make and are able to be understood and interpreted by otter monkeys (Povinelli, Reaux, Theall, Giambrone, & Humphrey, 2000). Communication also includes some body movements like lifting of the tail, curving f the back and other body movements. These movements are not random but rather tied to a particular meaning and situation which are understood by the other monkeys and give responses to such reactions. They also showed curiosity especially for the spider monkey. They were interested to find out about things in the surrounding. An example is when a human called it with something on the hand, they would approach to find out what the thing was until they felt threated and went back to the others.
Povinelli, D. J., Reaux, J. E., Theall, L. A., Giambrone, S., & Humphrey, N. (2000). Folk physics for apes: The chimpanzee’s theory of how the world works (Vol. 7). Oxford: Oxford University Press.