Maternal Infanticide and Cannibalism in Moustached Tamarin

Infanticide and cannibalism are two extreme behaviors seen in primates. Though extreme, the persistence of these behaviors in primates suggest that they are adapted for and had evolved to serve different purposes. Infanticide and cannibalism can be considered as both reproductive and survival strategies. Infanticide has always been associated with males killing off the progeny of former dominant males... Continue Reading →

New adapiform species discovered in West Texas

Do you know that fossil primates once roam North America? I didn't know either so this discovery was a shock and a "d'oh" moment at the same time. Lingual view (side that touches the tongue) of Mescalerolemur horneri partial mandible. Scale bar equals 2 mm. Photo from Kirk & Williams (2011). Anywho ... A fossil... Continue Reading →

The Semantics of Vervet Monkey Alarm Calls: Part II – The Experiment

Last week, I blogged about the semantics of alarm calls in vervet monkeys. This post will focus solely on the ingenious experiment by Robert Seyfarth, Dorothy Cheney and Peter Marler (1980) to test whether vervet monkey alarm calls convey information or if these calls were just an uncontrollable auditory response to predators. Their question was simple; would vervet monkey alarm calls... Continue Reading →

The Semantics of Vervet Monkey Alarm Calls: Part I

Anti-predatory alarm calls are important  for social animals to alert others of approaching predators. Without the presence of "language", some non-human primates are known to give out different predator-specific alarm calls to alert conspecific. These non-human primates include ring-tailed lemurs (Zuberbühler et al., 1999), white-faced capuchin monkeys (Fichtel et al., 2005), Diana monkeys (Zuberbühler, 1999), Campbell's monkeys... Continue Reading →

Are slow lorises really venomous?

Slow loris by Frans Lanting. Photo from The Guardian. I must say, the idea of venomous primates never crossed my mind. While venomous species do exist in mammals, it is much more common in insects, reptiles and fishes. In primates, slow lorises (genus Nycticebus) are though to be venomous in Thai folklore (Wilde, 1972) but are they... Continue Reading →

Ape behavior inside the exhibit and holding area

An insightful paper published by Ross et al. (2010), compares zoo-living ape behavior inside their holding and exhibit areas in Lincoln Park Zoo, an accredited member of Association for Zoos and Aquarium (AZA). Zoo animals usually have at least two areas where they are housed (excluding some aquatic animals): the holding area and the exhibit area. During visiting hours... Continue Reading →

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