New World Monkeys

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Human beings and all their unique features are a result of a long, complex evolutionary process (Tattersall, 2002). Evolution is a continuous process of natural changes that cause species (a group where the adults are capable of interbreeding, producing fertile offspring) to adapt to their environment. Scientific and genetic evidence show that the physical and behavioural traits shared by all modern humans came from ape-like ancestors and evolved over approximately 6 million years. Evolution occurs when there is a change in the DNA molecules which can affect how the body and behaviour of an organism will develop during the course of its life and how it will affect its survival and reproduction (Potts and Sloan, 2010). The information within this genetic material can change in several ways, such as a process of mutation. However evolution does not change any single organism or all at once – it occurs over millions of years by changing the growth and development of a population, resulting in their chances of survival and reproduction increasing and eventually becoming widespread throughout the population (Potts and Sloan, 2010).

Both physical and
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Monkeys are believed to be the direct descendants of early anthropoids, and can be divided into two groups; New World monkeys and Old World monkeys. New World monkeys first appeared about 30 million years ago, when some anthropoids migrated to South America and evolved in isolated areas (Potts and Sloan, 2010). They were all arboreal, had flat spreading noses and had prehensile tails which enabled them to grasp branches and objects. Old World monkeys arose around 25 million years ago when the anthropoids that stayed in Africa split into two lineages; Old World monkeys and hominoids (Potts and Sloan, 2010). Old World monkeys were both arboreal and terrestrial, their nostrils were close together and their noses point downward but none had prehensile

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