Physical description[ edit ] The great apes are large, tailless primates, with the smallest living species being the bonobo at 30—40 kilograms in weight, and the largest being the eastern gorillas, with males weighing — kilograms. In all great apes, the males are, on average, larger and stronger than the females, although the degree of sexual dimorphism varies greatly among species. Although most living species are predominantly quadrupedalthey are all able to use their hands for gathering food or nesting materials, and, in some cases, for tool use. Chimpanzees and orangutans primarily eat fruit.
In casual encounters with the material universe, we rarely feel any difficulty here, since we usually deal with things that are clearly alive, such as a dog or a rattlesnake; or with things that are clearly nonalive, such as a brick or a typewriter.
Nevertheless, the task of defining "life" is both difficult and subtle; something that at once becomes evident if we stop to think. Consider a caterpillar crawling over a rock. The caterpillar is alive, but the rock is not; as you guess at once, since the caterpillar is moving and the rock is not.
Yet what if the caterpillar were crawling over the trunk of a tree? The trunk isn't moving, yet it is as alive as the caterpillar. Or what if a drop of water were trickling down the trunk of the tree? The water in motion would not be alive, but the Apes living in the environment chapter tree trunk would be.
It would be expecting much of anyone to guess that an oyster were alive if he came across one for the first time with a closed shell.
Could a glance at a clump of trees in midwinter, when all are standing leafless, easily distinguish those which are alive and will bear leaves in the spring from those which are dead and will not? Is it easy to tell a live seed from a dead seed, or either from a grain of sand? For that matter, is it always easy to tell whether a man is merely unconscious or quite dead?
Modern medical advances are making it a matter of importance to decide the moment of actual death, and that is not always easy. Nevertheless, what we call "life" is sufficiently important to warrant an attempt at a definition.
We can begin by listing some of the things that living things can do, and nonliving things cannot do, and see if we end up with a satisfactory distinction for this particular twofold division of the Universe.
A living thing shows the capacity for independent motion against a force. A drop of water trickles downward, but only because gravity is pulling at it; it isn't moving "of its own accord.
Living things that seem to be motionless overall, nevertheless move in part. An oyster may lie attached to its rock all its adult life, but it can open and close its shell.
Furthermore, it sucks water into its organs and strains out food, so that there are parts of itself that move constantly. Plants, too, can move, turning their leaves to the sun, for instance; and there are continuous movements in the substance making it up.
A living thing can sense and it can respond adaptively. That is, it can become aware, somehow, of some alteration in its environment, and will then produce an alteration in itself that will allow it to continue to live as comfortably as possible.
To give a simple example, you may see a rock coming toward you and will quickly duck to avoid a collision of the rock with your head.
Analogously, plants can sense the presence of light and water and can respond by extending roots toward the water and stems toward the light. Even very primitive life forms, too small to see with the unaided eye, can sense the presence of food or of danger; and can respond in such a way as to increase their chances of meeting the first and of avoiding the second.
The response may not be a successful one; you may not duck quickly enough to avoid the rock—but it is the attempt that counts. A living thing metabolizes. By this we mean that it can eventually convert material from its environment into its own substance. The material may not be fit for use to begin with, so it must be broken apart, moistened, or otherwise treated.
It may have to be subjected to chemical change so that large and complex chemical units molecules are converted into smaller, simpler ones.
Anything which is left over, or not usable, is then eliminated. The different phases of this process are sometimes given separate names: A living thing grows. As a result of the metabolic process, it can convert more and more of its environment into itself, becoming larger as a result. A living thing reproduces.
It can, by a variety of methods, produce new living things like itself. Any object which possesses all these abilities would seem to be clearly alive; and any object which possesses none of them is clearly nonalive.
Yet the situation is not at all clear-cut. An adult human being no longer grows and many individuals never have children, but we still consider them alive even though they no longer grow and do not reproduce. Well, growth takes place at some time in life and the capacity for reproduction is potentially there.
A moth senses a flame and responds, but not adaptively; it flies into the flame and dies. Ah, but the response is ordinarily adaptive, for it is toward the light. The open flame is an exceptional condition.Environmental ethics is the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its non-human contents.
study that uses information and ideas from the physical sciences with those from the social sciences and humanities to learn how nature works, how we interact with the environment and how we can help deal with environmental problems.
Homework Assignments Summer Homework Guidelines Summer Homework: All 4 Assignments. Due Aug.
14, Purchase a composition journal. APES Notes Chapter Numbers refer to Miller, LITE, 13th Ed. Print This Page. acquired trait: A phenotypic characteristic, acquired during growth and development, that is not genetically based and therefore cannot be passed on to the next generation (for example, the large.
TEXTBOOK RESOURCES Chapter PowerPoint Notes Flash Cards and Practice Quizzes. LIVING IN THE ENVIRONMENT 16TH EDITION FAST TRACK TO A 5, DESIGNED FOR OUR TEXT. Student Textbook Companion Website APES Screen-casts UNIT ONE - INTRODUCTION TO APES Chapter 1 Outline - Environmental Problems, Their Causes and Sustainability Chapter 1 Concept Map.