Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Human Canopy Evolution
Donald R. Perry
For more than 50 million years, the canopy environment has placed stringent evolutionary conditions upon existence within its domain. Primates are a result of that process. Some examples of primate adaptations traditionally attributed to evolution within the canopy include binocular and color vision, long arms and legs, fingernails, grasping thumb, broad shoulders, enlarged brain, vertical posture, giving birth to one young, and a head that sits at a right angle to the spine. Certain features once thought to have originated in the terrestrial environment have now been added to this, including bipedalism among large-bodied apes and a long, opposable thumb. Over the last decade and a half, fossil discoveries have continued to strengthen the view of the canopy as a source of protohuman adaptations. Since the time of Darwin, theories of human evolution have taught that the arrival of bipedalism brought an end to our dependence on trees. That event ...