Yesterday I mentioned an interesting study on primate climbing. National Geographic has video of the primates climbing the test device. The video van be found here.
One of the more interesting areas of paleoanthropological research concerns the timing of growth and development. For example, in macaques infancy is from birth to 1.4 years, childhood from 1.4-3.2 years, and adolescence from 3.2-5.8 years. In captivity macaques can live to be 30 years old, or more. In chimps the figures are; infancy birth – 3.3, childhood 3.3-6.5, childhood 6.5-11.4. In captivity chimps can live to be in excess of 60 years old. For humans the figures are: infancy birth – 5.9, childhood 5.9-11.3, adolescence 11.3-18. Each of these stages can be defined based on a combination of tooth eruption and epiphyseal closure (which is also helpful to forensic anthropologists). Presumably, the common ancestor of chimps and humans followed the chimp pattern of development and one of the things paleoanthropologists would like to explain is how and when the human pattern evolved. I mention this because an interesting paper has been published in The American Naturalist which seems relevant to the above issues.