Section 4

Primates and Human Origins

• Most primates share several characteristics, including generalized teeth; dental formula; three-dimensional vision; large brains; and grasping hands, feet, and tails.

• Of all living primates, only humans are bipedal. Bipedalism is the defining characteristic of hominids.

Vocabulary prehensile appendage (p. 875) anthropoid primate (p. 876)

opposable thumb (p.876) great ape (p. 876)

• Paleontologists have found many hominid fossils, including a variety of now-extinct australopithecines and humans.

• The multiregional and recent-African-origin hypotheses seek to explain how humans came to occupy the entire globe.

australopithecine (p. 877) human (p. 879)

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