Wild mouse lemurs live long


This video is called Microcebus rufus, or the brown mouse lemur, in Ranomafauna, Madagascar.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wild mouse lemurs live six times longer than similar-sized mammals

A new study has found that brown mouse lemurs in the wild can live to be up to at least eight years old, which is twice as long as other mammals of a similar size. They were also found to show signs of aging slower than captive grey mouse lemurs, which often display behavioural and neurological degeneration by the age of four, as well as developing grey hair and cataracts.

“It’s surprising that these tiny, mouse-sized primates, living in a jungle full of predators that probably consider them a bite-sized snack, can live so long. And we found individuals up to eight years of age in the wild with no physical symptoms of senescence like some captive mouse lemurs start getting by the age of four,” commented biologist Sarah Zohdy, post-doctoral fellow in Emory’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Rollins School of Public Health. Zohdy, who conducted the research while at the University of Helsinki, led the study on the brown mouse lemurs in Madagascar. She notes that it is likely factors such as starvation, predation, disease may decrease the observed rate of degeneration (known as senescence) in the wild, but evidence suggests that captivity can adversely affect mental and physical function.

“Comparing longevity data of captive and wild mouse lemurs may help us understand how the physiological and behavioural demands of different environments affect the aging process in other primates, including humans,” says Zohdy.

The study, which took place in Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, analysed a total of 420 dental impressions taken from 189 unique individuals between 2003 and 2010. 270 age estimates were calculated during the course of study, based on the wear rates of the mammals’ teeth.

“We found that wild brown mouse lemurs can live at least eight years. In the population that we studied, 16 per cent lived beyond four years of age,” Zohdy explains. “And we found no physical signs of senescence, such as greying hair or cataracts, in any wild individual.”

Hormone analysis of fecal samples from the mouse lemurs was also undertaken, and results revealed that there was no difference in testosterone levels between males and females. Ordinarily in most vertebrates, males tend to die first, so this is an unusual finding. Zohdy explains, “While elevated male testosterone levels have been implicated in shorter lifespans in several species, this is one of the first studies to show equivalent testosterone levels accompanying equivalent lifespans.”

Mouse lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and are the world’s smallest primate[s]. Although captive grey mouse lemurs can live beyond the age of 12, it is still not known what causes them to show earlier signs of senescence.

It is also not known why brown mouse lemurs in the wild have a much greater longevity than other animals of the same size. Zohdy suggests that the fact that wild mouse lemurs hibernate for half of the year could possibly boost their life span, but further research is needed to explain the findings.

“Our results do not provide information about wild brown mouse lemurs that can be directly compared to senescence in captive grey mouse lemurs,” she says. “Further research, using identical measures of senescence, will help to reveal whether patterns of physiological senescence occur consistently across the genus and in both captive and wild conditions.”

This video says about itself:

29 October 2014

Emory University biologist Sarah Zohdy studies mouse lemurs, the world’s smallest primates, in Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park. The video shows a pregnant brown mouse lemur at night. “I saw her leap and catch a moth out of mid-air,” Zohdy says. “She then stopped a moment in the trees to clean off her mouth, hands and face, which is what you see on this video.”

Chimpanzees adapting to humans, new study


This BBC video is called How to Speak Chimpanzee.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chimps found to be adapting to human neighbours

Wild chimpanzees could be learning to coexist with their human neighbours a new study suggests. Expanding land use for agriculture and other activities are increasingly encroaching on wild chimpanzee habitat and there are signs the chimps are adjusting to these habitat changes.

Researchers from Muséum national d’histoire naturelle have used camera-traps to observe chimpanzee behaviour during incursions out of the forest into maize fields in Kibale National Park, Uganda. During the 20 days of the study, a total of 14 crop-raiding events were recorded by the activation of the video-trap.

The researchers observed large parties of eight chimpanzees which also included vulnerable individuals such as females with clinging infants. This is the first record of frequent and repeated activities at night, in the darkness. Habitat destruction may have prompted the chimpanzees to adjust their normal behaviour to include innovative behaviours exploiting open croplands at night.

The study concluded: ”Even though the chimpanzees’ home range has been seriously damaged and disturbed by both logging activities and significant human demographic pressure, chimpanzees have shown great behavioural flexibility including unexpected nocturnal behaviour, in order to take advantage of the proximity of domestic nutritive food.

“The new findings of chimpanzee nocturnal raids can aid to formulate recommendations to local farmers and Park authorities in addition to those already listed as “best practice guidelines” from IUCN in terms of human-wildlife conflicts.”

Madagascar lemurs, new research


This 16 October 2014 German video is about the recent research about white-footed sportive lemurs.

From Wildlife Extra:

Lemurs get messages when they go to the toilet

Public toilets are often a place humans use to communicate thoughts to others, and it is a habit not just restricted to humans, new research has discovered.

Scientists from the German Primate Center (DPZ) have found that White-footed sportive lemurs in southern Madagascar also use communal toilets as places to air their thoughts, only instead of writing on the walls, they use scent-marks on latrine trees to communicate with each other and warn intruders that that there is a male that will defend his partner.

This is an important method of communicating for them because although White-footed Sportive Lemurs are nocturnal tree-dwellers that live together in families consisting of parents and their offspring, the individuals do not interact much.

But what they have in common are latrines that are located in the core of their territory, which the whole family uses, and so it is a very useful place to leave messages for each other and keep in contact.

“Scent marks transmit a variety of information such as sexual and individual identity and may function to signal an individual’s presence and identity to others,” says Iris Dröscher, from the German Primate Center. “Latrines therefore serve as information exchange centres of individual-specific information.”

Read a field guide to the Ring-tailed lLemurs of Madagascar HERE.

New orchid species gets Jane Goodall’s name


This video is called Jane Goodall: A Retrospective.

Translated from the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Friday, October 3, 2014 10:10

Scientists of Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Hortus Botanicus Leiden have named an orchid that was discovered in 2003 during a collecting trip in Papua New Guinea by dr. EF de Vogel and Art Vogel after Jane Goodall: Dendrobium goodallianum.

Dendrobium goodallianum

The orchid blooms only one day and smells like coconut. Once the orchid blooms, it will be displayed behind glass to the public.

Currently Jane Goodall is in the top ten of the most influential women in the world. She is United Nations peace ambassador and travels the world 300 days a year to fight for the future of our endangered planet. The orchid was named after her because of her constant commitment to the preservation of biodiversity and her outstanding work in conservation.

See also here.

I certainly hope that the influence of famous primatologist and United Nations peace ambassador Jane Goodall will prevail over the influence of some influential, but not so constructive women. Though most warmongering is done by men, a few women like Samantha Power and Condoleezza Rice have done major harm to the cause of peace.

Five new saki monkey species discovered in Amazon


This video is called Amazon Brasil: Macaco parauacu (Guianan Saki Monkey).

From Wildlife Extra:

Five new Amazonian saki monkey species discovered

A 10 year study of the saki monkey has revealed the existence of five new monkeys, bringing the total number of different saki species to 16.

“I began to suspect there might be more species of saki monkeys when I was doing field research in Ecuador,” said lead author Dr Laura K. Marsh, primate ecologist and director of the Global Conservation Institute.

“The more I saw, the more I realised that scientists had been confused in their evaluation of the diversity of sakis for over two centuries.”

Saki monkeys are a secretive group of primates native to the tropical forests of South America. They are often hunted for food, even though their elusive behaviour makes them difficult to find. The five new species are found in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia – three of them are endemic to Brazil and one to Peru.

This revision increases the number of primates in Brazil to 145; the highest diversity for any single nation.

Primates are major components of tropical rain forest systems, and are of great importance as seed dispersers, predators, and sometimes even as prey.

“Besides being vital for their conservation and survival, the revised scientific description of these sakis is a major step in our understanding of primate diversity in Amazonia and worldwide,” said Dr Anthony B. Rylands, Senior Researcher at Conservation International and Deputy-Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group, after whom one of the new species, Rylands’ bald-faced saki (Pithecia rylandsi), was named.

The others include Cazuza’s saki (Pithecia cazuzai), Mittermeier’s Tapajós saki (Pithecia mittermeieri), Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki (Pithecia pissinattii) and Isabel’s saki (Pithecia isabela).

“Saki monkeys, like many rain forest primates, are excellent indicators for the health of tropical forest systems,” said Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier, President of Conservation International and Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group.

“This revision of the genus shows clearly how little we still know about the diversity of the natural world that surrounds us and upon which we ourselves depend so much.”

See also here.

The scientific description of these new speciew is here.

New Philippine tarsier discovery


This video from the Philippines is called Pure Nature Specials – Tarsier Primate – The Littlest Alien.

From Science News:

New subspecies of Philippine tarsier discovered

Tiny, nocturnal primate lives in area threatened by mining

by Nsikan Akpan

5:41pm, August 19, 2014

Genetic tests have spotted a new subspecies of Philippine tarsier, one of the world’s smallest — and arguably cutest — primates. Previously, taxonomists had used physical features, such as body proportion and hair color and length, to determine that there are anywhere between three and seven subspecies of this rare nocturnal mammal. To clarify that confusion, Rafe Brownof the University of Kansas in Lawrence and other researchers recently examined DNA samples collected from tarsiers from across the southeastern Philippines.

The comparison divvied the tarsiers into five lineages, including an unexpected variety on Dinagat Island and the Caraga region of nearby Mindanao Island. Wildlife sanctuaries partially encompass the habitats of the four other lineages, but the realm of the Dinagat-Caraga tarsier has historically lacked protection and is threatened by recent expansion of mining activities, the scientists report August 19 in PLOS ONE.