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Acknowledgements

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Figure 1 Dr J Durst, Schonenberg, Switzerland;

Figure 7 Courtesy of SOHO. SOHO is aproject of international cooperation between ESA and NASA;

Figure 8 US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

Figure 13 © The Royal Astronomical Society;

Figu
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1.1 The Sun at visible wavelengths

The Sun is seen as a blindingly bright, yellow object in the sky. The part of the Sun that you normally see is called the photosphere (meaning ‘sphere of light’); this is best thought of as the ‘surface’ of the Sun, although it is very different from the surface of a planet such as Earth. Its diameter is about 1.4 million kilometres, making the Sun's volume roughly one million times that of the Earth. The photosphere is not solid. Rather, it is a thin layer of hot gaseous mater
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5.5.2 Indris and sifakas

Both indris and sifakas are unusual amongst lemurs in that they are active largely by day. Leaves are their primary food. They have a specialised form of locomotion, best described as ‘vertical clinging and leaping’ and the leaps they can take, using their powerful legs, can be up to 10 m. DA describes the bounding movement of sifakas when they are compelled to come to ground. (If you go back to the previous video sequence that shows this strikingly white species – the so-called silky s
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2.5 Tree squirrels

Coevolution also underpins the relationship between many tree squirrels and the trees that house them. The creation of food caches as a ‘winter-larder’ is mutually beneficial, partly because squirrels are sufficiently profligate in their habits to ensure that many stores are overlooked. Stealing by neighbours is so common that such over-provision may be essential – it's not through forgetfulness or lack of skill; grey squirrels appear able to detect nuts buried as deep as 30 cm below th
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2.2 The kinkajou

LoM describes this tree dweller as a relative of the raccoon. It belongs to the order Carnivora and is one member of a family generally referred to as procyonids [p. 170], or more commonly the raccoon family. You'll be aware that some members of this family – for example, coatis [p. 174] – are omnivores. As you'll see in the video sequence below, coatis are more typically found in the undergrowth and leaf litter, rather than high up in the trees. (If you need to remind yourself of the lif
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • identify the common features shown by tree-dwelling mammals from different groups;

  • show an awareness of the difficulties of classifying primates, especially in relation to the position of the prosimians;

  • give an account of opportunities and challenges encountered by tree-dwelling mammals and of evolved adaptations linked with arboreal life;

  • provide examples of the closeness (and sometimes
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3 Tool use and culture in ape and human societies

Another surprising discovery first reported by Jane Goodall in 1960, was the routine use of tools by the Gombe chimpanzees for obtaining food. Since then, observations on other groups of chimpanzees have highlighted the diversity of tool-using techniques. The TV programme and LoM Chapter 10 provide fascinating examples of the techniques used; some are remarkably complex and ingenious.


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Introduction

In this unit, we will explore the fascinating question of who our ancestors were. I'll be looking at living species of apes in order to pick up clues about social structure and lifestyle in our ancestors and gain some understanding about why we humans behave as we do. I'll discuss tool use and culture in both ape and human societies, and look at two ancient species known only from their fossils – an australopithecine and Homo erectus.

This is the tenth in a series of units abou
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2.1 Trophic levels

‘All flesh is grass’; this somewhat paradoxical biblical quotation really is only a restatement of what was more formally explained in previous units in this series. The materials needed by plant eaters (see unit S182_4) for the growth of ‘flesh’ – by which I mean not just the meaty muscular parts, but all of the body – must come entirely from their plant food. Plants grow using the Sun's energy in the process of photosynthesis. Plants occupy the lowermost of a succession of feedi
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4.1 The advantages

On the basis of LoM and the TV programme, and hearing so much about African hunting dogs and lions, you might be tempted to believe that carnivores generally live in groups.

Question: Do you think this generalisation is true? Can you think of
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions). This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

The content acknowledged be
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9 Wildebeest migration

The skill of thinking in a scientific way is as much a part of being a scientist as is knowing facts – perhaps more so. In this series of units, you'll not only come across facts about particular techniques, such as radio transmitters and bat detectors, but also the tactics that scientists use to inves
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8.3 Shortage of minerals

You may be familiar with salt licks that are provided for domesticated cattle. In the wild, grass is also often low in minerals (e.g. it has almost no sodium and very little calcium), so grazers may have to go to extraordinary lengths to supplement their diet with additional minerals obtained from the most unlikely places. LoM gives some examples, but the most impressive activity takes place in the caves of Mount Elgon in Kenya [pp. 113–114]. You'll probably recall this spectacular footage
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3 Herbivore teeth

Tables are a useful way of recording key information. The headings for Tables 1 and 2 have been prepared for you, and you can copy and complete the tables in your notebook. If you need to find any of this information again later, then it is very useful to have it summarised in a table.

I
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4.2 Altruism

How is it possible then to sustain groups in which some individuals are prevented from breeding? They would have no lifetime reproductive success, none of their characteristics could be passed on to offspring.

Name two of the species in LoM that had
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3.2 Adaptation

If you are working through the units in this series in sequence, you have already been introduced to the idea that many features of an animal's behaviour and structure are adaptations to their way of life. Unit S182_2 looked at the oily fur and the flipper-like feet of the water shrew, comparing the water shrew to the common shrew, a close relative that does not have these features and that does not chase prey under water. We also thought very carefully about the way that adaptations are desc
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6.2.1 The need for a reference frame for describing the Universe

The speed of the Earth in its orbit round the Sun is 29.8 km s−1, in a heliocentric frame. But to specify the velocity vector, it is not sufficient to specify the Sun as the origin of the coordinate system; fixed directions must also be identified.

Question 13


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5.1.1 Starting points

We begin by making some simplifying assumptions about the electric field. This is legitimate because we are not looking for the most general solution to Maxwell's equations, but only for special solutions that exhibit wave-like behaviour. We will ultimately check that our solutions for the fields satisfy all of Maxwell's equations, and hence obtain retrospective support for our initial assumptions.

If you drop a pebble in a pond, waves spread out in all directions on the surface. Many e
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Bioaccumulation

When chemical contaminants enter the body of a person, they circulate around the body in the blood. Different contaminants have different chemical properties and specific contaminants tend to accumulate in specific parts of the body, called target tissues, or in substances produced in the body such as breast milk (Table 3).

Table 3: Some common pollutants and thei
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2.5 What is a sensible dose?

This will vary from drug to drug and patient to patient, but bear in mind that most drugs need to be swallowed or injected, so the manufacturer has designed the dose sizes to be as easy as possible for a patient to take and for the health worker to administer.

The following dose ranges are the most sensible and practical for adults:

Table 7 Typical drug doses

<
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