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.

‘Monkeys use researchers as human shields’


This video is called Samango monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis).

From Science:

28 July 2014

Monkeys use researchers as human shields

A team of researchers in South Africa believes monkeys may be using their presence to guard against predators, according to a paper published online earlier this month in Behavioral Ecology.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

The samango monkeys of South Africa usually have a good reason not to stray too far from the forest. Although they spend much of their time loping through the trees they know to keep within a certain range: climb too high and they’re targets for eagles, too low and they could be a big cat‘s lunch.

However, it seems there is an exception to this behaviour – and that’s when people are around. A new study from the journal of Behavioural Ecology reports that samango monkeys under observation by scientists use the researchers as “human shields”, counting on their presence to avoid being picked off by a leopard.

Chimpanzees prefer African, Indian music to other music


This music video is called African Traditional Music.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chimps shun music of West and Japan in favour of African, Indian… or peace and quiet

Chimpanzees prefer silence to listening to Western-style music, but they do like a bit of African or Indian rhythm, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Not that the researchers want to be divisive.

“Our objective was not to find a preference for different cultures’ music,” said study co-author Frans de Waal of Emory University. “We used cultural music from Africa, India and Japan to pinpoint specific acoustic properties.

“Past research has focused only on Western music and has not addressed the very different acoustic features of non-Western music.

“While non-human primates have previously indicated a preference of music choices, they have consistently chosen silence over the types of music previously tested.”

Previous research has also found that some non-human primates prefer slower tempos, but the current findings may be the first to show that they display a preference for particular rhythmic patterns, according to the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.

“Although Western music, such as pop, blues and classical, sound different to the casual listener, they all follow the same musical and acoustic patterns. Therefore, by testing only different Western music, previous research has essentially replicated itself,” the authors wrote.

Sixteen adult chimps in two groups participated in the experiment at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.

Over 12 consecutive days for 40 minutes each morning, the groups were given the opportunity to listen to African, Indian or Japanese music playing on a portable stereo near their outdoor enclosure.

Another portable stereo not playing any music was located at a different spot near the enclosure to rule out behaviour that might be associated with an object rather than the music.

The different types of music were at the same volume but played in random order.

Each day, researchers observed the chimps and recorded their location every two minutes with handwritten notes. They also videotaped the activity in the enclosure.

The researchers found that when African and Indian music was played near their large outdoor enclosures, the chimps spent significantly more time in areas where they could best hear the music.

When Japanese music was played, they were more likely to be found in spots where it was more difficult or impossible to hear the music.

The African and Indian music in the experiment had extreme ratios of strong to weak beats, whereas the Japanese music had regular strong beats, which is also typical of Western music.

“Chimpanzees may perceive the strong, predictable rhythmic patterns as threatening, as chimpanzee dominance displays commonly incorporate repeated rhythmic sounds such as stomping, clapping and banging objects,” said de Waal.

“Displaying a preference for music over silence is compelling evidence that our shared evolutionary histories may include favouring sounds outside of both humans’ and chimpanzees’ immediate survival cues,” said lead author Morgan Mingle of Emory and Southwestern University in Austin.

“Our study highlights the importance of sampling across the gamut of human music to potentially identify features that could have a shared evolutionary root.”

See also here.

Nature and nurture seem to contribute equally to chimpanzee intelligence, @Sara_Reardon reports: here.

Stop damaging marmoset monkeys’ brains, campaigners say


This video from South Africa is called International Primate Rescue (1 of 4): Playing with Marmosets.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Halt ‘disturbing’ medical tests on monkeys, campaigners urge

Monday 7th April 2014

Cure Parkinson’s Trust sponsors experiments pumping primate brains full of harmful drugs

Animal welfare activists have begged a British charity to stop “profoundly disturbing” experiments on monkeys’ brains for medical research into Parkinson’s disease.

Campaign organisation Animal Aid issued a statement today denouncing the Cure Parkinson’s Trust for sponsoring Canadian scientists to inject monkeys with brain-damaging drugs.

“The vast majority of the British public do not want their money being used to fund profoundly disturbing experiments on animals,” said Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler.

In papers published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Public Library of Science ONE between 2011 and 2012, the testing was described as injecting marmoset monkeys with the chemical MPTP, which mimics Parkinson’s by killing brain cells.

The animals were then given differing doses of L-Dopa — a Parkinson’s treatment drug — to monitor its side effects.

Cure Parkinson’s Trust was named in the media as a supporter of the tests.

“We are calling on charities like the Cure Parkinson’s Trust to focus solely on productive non-animal research,” added Mr Tyler.

Animal Aid argues that the recurrent use of the same animals was equally disgraceful, given that — according to the Home Office’s measurement of animal tests — the suffering induced to the marmoset monkeys was “severe.”

Mr Tyler claimed that the British public’s money was ultimately being used to torture the animals.

In Britain, as in Europe, it is illegal to re-use animals for experiments on the “severe” threshold of pain, distress or lasting harm.

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