Sample History Paper on The Evolution of the Eutherian Order of Primates

Existing primates are typified by their anatomical features. Apparently, a majority of these features are not unique to the order but are rather a combination that distinguishes them from other mammals. The classification has been substantial due to historical attention on the adaptive terms, such as convergence and orbital size, elongated tarsal bones, an opposable hallux, the relative brain size. Broadly, this classification of primates could be attributed to prominent hypotheses that try to establish the primate origins. Sizeable progression has been made, particularly in identifying the phylogeny and evolution of the eutherian order of primates, and this could be attributed to improved knowledge of fossil records. Fossil records show that whether primates are related by virtue of distance or otherwise, what stands out about them is the fantastical representation of the tree of life. This knowledge of the life model is believably founded in the comprehension of phylogenetic histories. By definition, phylogeny refers to the study of the relationship that exists between different organism groups, especially in terms of their evolutionary development. Thus, phylogeny is hypothesized as being crucial in understanding fossil records, especially anatomical and genetic comparisons. Arguably, the advancement in people’s knowledge of fossil records is believably responsible for the comprehension of the phylogeny and evolution of the eutherian order of primates.

Improved knowledge of fossil records has been transformative in understanding the origin and development of primates. Though arboreality per se is not directly linked to primate evolution of ancestral primate adaptive profile, archaeological evidence supposes that there is an agreement in the idea that primates have the possibility of having originated in an arboreal context (Soligo and Smaers 608). In fact, the knowledge of fossil records suggests that the earliest primates were relatively small in body size and weight. However, through locomotion, the origin of primates is stressed as having had a particular significance of leaping, which assisted in enhanced adaptation. Ecomorphological principles expound on this idea by showing that movement has been an integral part of primate origin. On this note, there is the consensus that ecological significance can be closely inferred to ancestral primate traits even though it proves hard to prove. Therefore, in exploring people’s understanding of fossil records and their contribution to comprehending the evolution of primates, there is the need to ask the question of how the ancestral primate niche is contextualized as a singular interpretation of anatomical qualities. This approach identifies that realistic models of primate origins are identifiable through single adaptive features or association of characters intrinsic to ancestral primate.

An exploration of people’s understanding of the evolution of the eutherian order of primate can be understood from a palaeontological context. The interpretation therein is vital since it allows the differentiation of broad concepts that apply to an organism’s ecological and morphological roles. In particular, the association between habit preference and morphology is documented as a defining element in extant taxa, more so the basis of predictive models that infer about past environments. Frequent focus single taxon, such as felids or bovids suids, is based on the assumption that the basic functions of morphology are to help consider the known and the correspondent behavior applicable to a specific group of fossil organisms. In particular, a close examination of behavior is vital in that it helps indicate the environments where the fossils are occupied. Soligo and Smaers explain this by positing that accurate hypotheses have helped identify the phylogenetic connection between primates (611). This connection is identified as being crucial for two reasons, namely: defining unambiguously the evolution process of primates as well as accurate inferences character evolution as well as the rebuilding of ancestral character states.

For a period of two decades, increased knowledge of fossil evidence has impacted the comprehension of the evolution of primates based on the increased availability of molecular data. That is, the availability of molecular data has been vital in enhanced confidence of estimations related to the phylogenetic connection among extant primates. The existence of this data helps to characterize primates as being part of Euarchonta, a taxonomic group that also includes Dermoptera and Scandentia. This categorization extends to include sister clade to Euarchonta, such as Rodentia and Lagomorpha (Soligo and Smaers 612). Though the specific relationship within Euarchonta remains to be controversial, molecular analysis implies that primates are the only lot whose evolution is supported by morphological data. Therefore, the phylogenetic connection between Primates, Dermoptera, and Scandentia cannot be classified as resolve. This means that further analysis of molecular data is necessary to understand the connection. Regardless of this, current progressions in understanding the evolution of the eutherian order of Primates suppose that well-supported phylogenies are available for phylogenetic examination.

Accurate phylogenetic frameworks have been a prerequisite in understanding the discussion of how primates originated. In essence, this approach has been vital in defining Order Primates and what is meant by the term ‘their origin.’ A plethora of research defines this approach as being involved with higher taxonomic groups that are applied in representing monophyletic groups as being identifiable specifies through the element of common adaptive profile that helps distinguish them from their close relatives (Soligo and Smaers 613). Particularly, taxa knowledge is viewed as an exploration of intuitive sense, which is viewed through modern biological diversity. From this point of approach, it is worth noting that some analyses may be contradicting. For instance, the phylogenetic examination of dental characters in 59 primary fossil taxa has been identified as being erroneous for the association of this group to Scandetia and its sister groups.

The most recent data on human advancement in terms of knowledge of fossil records show that this has helped identify the evolution of primates by focusing on the data of brain modularity. This examination of data identifies traditional focus related to absolute and relative brain size but has failed to explain the cognitive and neural phylogenetic variation in primates. Fossil data attempts to explain this concentrates on the element of brain size and its construction of interconnected variables related to brain and body size. Both subjects are perceivably crucial due to their association with the element of natural selection (Soligo and Smaers 619). Comparative analysis has tried proving this by showing that across eutherian mammals; the variation in their body size is descriptively more influential than the differences in the brain size. This approach is founded on the idea that variations relative to the brain size explain the differences in body size as being due to the body being under higher selective pressure. Secondly, there is a focus on the differences in internal organizations. This variation is relative to the size of specific brain regions, and this has been shown to be a contributory factor pertinent to brain size and the overall neural diversity.

In conclusion, it is clear that human advancement in the knowledge of the fossil record has significantly improved understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of the eutherian order of Primates. Though there are shortcomings, such as failure to addressing several relevant aspects of primate anatomy, it is clear that the primates’ adaptive origin has been vital in classifying their evolution history. For instance, comprehension of fossil data has helped understand the phylogeny and evolution of the eutherian order of primate since it helps explore data related to anatomical variations that exist across taxa by focusing on the comparison between different models of evolution.



Works Cited

Soligo, Christophe, and Jeroen B. Smaers. “Contextualising primate origins – an             ecomorphological framework.” Journal of Anatomy, vol. 228, no. 4, 2016, pp. 608-629.