Prehistoric Primate Museum

Activity 7: Prehistoric Primate Museum

INTRODUCTION

In this activity we will look at exhibits in AnVRopomotron.com, an online virtual anthropology museum created by Dr. Keith Chan. Our focus will be on the fossils and reconstructions of prehistoric primates that predate hominins. We will answer questions by finding information presented in the virtual museum.

AnVRopomotron can be viewed on web browsers on a variety of devices with different control schemes. A computer with a mouse and keyboard will provide a good experience. A smartphone with touch controls is less ideal due to the small screen.

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NOTE: This assignment requires observation. If you require an accessible assignment, please contact me.

INSTRUCTIONS

Go to www.anvropomotron.com and use the controls to move around. The different controls for different devices are listed on the wall you are facing:

  • Computer web browser: Use the WASD keys to move. Hold and drag with the mouse to look around.
  • Smartphone: Press on the screen to move forward. Press with two fingers to move backward. Enable motion controls to tilt your phone to look around. Otherwise, swipe with your finger to look.

PART 1: The Centerpiece

Go straight ahead to examine the bronze centerpiece. Touch the orange orb to make info panels appear. Answer these questions:

Question 1: Which primate is the largest one shown in the centerpiece?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 2: Which primate is the smallest? (The smallest is located on the biggest one’s fingertip.)

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

PART 2:  VR Grab Lab and Height Chart

Facing the front of the centerpiece, turn right and go into the VR Grab Lab. Go past the two tables and turn the corner. You will enter a room that features four tables. We will be working with the far left table, labeled “Early Primate Fossils.” Touch the items to bring up information on the back wall and a magnified view. First, touch the Archicebus model on the far left of the table.

 

Question 3: How long ago did Archicebus live?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 4: What was its most likely diet?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 5: Examine the model: Archicebus looks a lot like a mouse, but it definitely has primate traits. What are some primate traits you see on the model?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Now examine the brown partial cranium next to Archicebus. Touch it to bring up its information.

Question 6: What is the scientific name of this fossil?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 7: Use your reasoning to answer this question: why is this fossil so broken and distorted? To answer, think about how an object becomes a fossil.

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

We are done with this section. Turn around and walk back to the first room. Go past the centerpiece to the height chart on the wall. Go up to it and answer this question.

Question 8: Who was taller: Gigantopithecus or the tallest recorded person?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

PART 3: Scale Model Hall

From the Height Chart, turn right and then turn left to enter the Scale Model Hall. There are a few models of prehistoric primates. Go to the first model on the right. It is Notharctus. Touch its orb to bring up some information. The model is based on multiple individuals and allows us a look at the full body.

Question 9: Where was this primate discovered and how many years ago did it live?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 10: Use your reasoning to answer this question: how could the long tail of this primate be an adaptation?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Move past Notharctus to the next model, which is on top of a tree branch and facing you. Touch its orb for info.

Question 11: Where were proconsulids found?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 12: Proconsulids are only known from fossilized bones and teeth, so no one knows exactly what a living one would look like. Which traits must have been inferred to reconstruct what a living Proconsul looked like?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Keep moving to the next model, a larger primate clinging to a tree trunk. It is Megaladapis. Touch its orb for information.

Question 13: What is this primate’s nickname due to it having similar adaptations as another animal?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 14: Megaladapis existed until the first Homo sapiens arrived and settled its home island of Madagascar. Why do you think this primate became extinct?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

PART 4: Summary

Thinking about the exhibits you have seen, put some of the information together by answering the following questions.

 

Question 15: Relatively, who lived first, second, and third in time: Proconsul, Archicebus, and Notharctus?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

Question 16: How did Gigantopithecus differ from other prehistoric primates in terms of their preferred environment? (Hint: Think about how the models are posed.)

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE.

You’re finished!

 

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Each question is worth 6.25 points for a total of 100.

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