Monkeys and Gorillas
A primate is a mammal belonging to the order Primates, which consist of prosimians and simians. Primates came from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests. Many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment. All but a few primate species remain at least partly arboreal.|
With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Their size varies greatly, from the smallest, the Madame Berthe's mouse Lemur, which weighs only about 1 oz, to the largest, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, weighing over 440 lbs.
Primates are among the most social of animals, forming pairs or family groups, uni-male harems, and multi-male/multi-female groups. They exploit a variety of food sources. It has been said that many characteristics of modern primates, including humans, derive from an early ancestor's practice of taking most of its food from the tropical canopy. Most primates include fruit in their diets to obtain easily digestable carbohydrates and lipids for energy. However, they also require other foods, such as leaves or insects, for amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
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