The Primate Odyssey Since the dawn of time and the emergence of living creatures on this earth, many animals have evolved but competition has been a mainstay. This competition is in reference to the competition to survive, dubbed the ?survival of the fittest.? Primates are one species who have experienced this struggle as they tried to seize and exploit the extensive variety of ecological niches. Consequently natural selection has played a prominent role in primate evolution. Charles Darwin?s theory of natural selection ?describes the influence of limited resources in the environment on developing permanent physical and mental characteristics for animals to survive? (Napier 7). Hence the primates developed several advantageous attributes including an increase in intelligence, brain size, gestation period, and social organization through evolution. This is evident in the four grades of primates, which consist of lemuroids, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes and man.
One of the characteristics that outlines the development of the Primates is the progressive increase of intelligence??the ability to reason and have insight into your surroundings? (Jurmain 112).
The primates at the LA county zoo from the Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) through the apes, displayed clear signs of intelligence, but none more than the chimpanzees from the Mahale Mountain. They showed their plasticity (ability to change and adapt to environment), especially a chimp named Toto who tore a leaf and used it as a utensil to drink from the fountain. Adversely the much more primitive Coquerel?s sifaka (Propithecus