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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Lemurs’ love life, new research


This video from the USA is called SIFAKA at DUKE LEMUR CENTER.

From Duke University in the USA:

Lemur lovers sync their scents: Strength of a lemur couple’s bond is reflected in the similarity of their scents

January 31, 2014

Summary:

Mating pairs of lemurs mirror each other’s scent-marking behavior and even start to smell alike after they have reproduced. Matched scents are possibly a way to combine territory defenses or to advertise their relationship status to the rest of their group, according to researchers. Couples who haven’t had kids yet spend the most time scent-marking and investigating each other’s odors.

The strength of a lemur couple’s bond is reflected by the similarity of their scents, finds a new study.

“It’s like singing a duet, but with smells instead of sounds,” said Christine Drea, a Duke University professor who supervised the study.

Duke researchers sampled and analyzed scent secretions produced by lemurs known as Coquerel‘s sifakas living at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC. The researchers also monitored the animals’ scent-marking and sniffing behavior across the breeding season.

They found that lemur lovers mirror each other’s scent-marking behavior, and that lemur couples with kids give off similar scents — possibly as a way to combine territory defenses or to advertise their relationship status to the rest of their group, the researchers say.

The lemurs spend the most time scent-marking and investigating each other’s odors before they have kids. After they reproduce, they smell more like each other.

The findings appear in the February 2014 edition of Animal Behaviour.

Coquerel’s sifakas are white-furred lemurs with chocolate-brown patches on their chests, arms and legs. They have glands on their throats and genital areas that produce a sticky goo that is dabbed on branches and tree trunks as the animals move through the forest.

To collect the data, the researchers used cotton swabs to sample scent secretions from the genital regions of eight males and seven females across different phases of the reproductive season.

Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests to identify the chemical ingredients in each animal’s unique aroma showed that sifaka scent secretions from the genital area alone contain more than 250 odor compounds.

The researchers also followed the behavior of six pairs of potential mates, measuring how often the animals smeared their scents on their surroundings — a behavior known as scent-marking — as well as how often they sniffed, licked, or marked over the scents left by other members of their group.

The animals mirrored the scent-marking behavior of their partners. “When one member of a pair started sniffing and scent-marking more often, their mate did too,” said Lydia Greene, a research associate in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology who conducted the study as a Duke undergraduate.

The couples without offspring that spend more time on scent-marking and investigating each other’s odors may be in a ‘getting-to-know-you’ period, the researchers say.

“If two animals have never reproduced, the male doesn’t necessarily know what the female smells like when she’s in heat, because they’ve never gone through this before. They might need to scent mark a lot more to figure out when it’s time to mate,” Greene said.

Sifaka couples with kids spent less time scent-marking and investigating each other’s odors, but their odor profiles were more similar than those of couples without kids, possibly due to the exchange of odor-producing bacteria during mating, grooming, or other forms of physical contact.

Surprisingly, the number of years a couple had lived together made no difference to their mating success or the similarity of their scents. “Some of the sifaka couples had been living together for quite a while, but hadn’t managed to produce an infant, whereas others had been living together for a really short period of time and had already successfully reproduced,” Greene said.

Figuring out what the sifakas‘ chemical messages mean will take more time. The scent secretions of other lemur species contain hundreds of odor compounds that help the animals distinguish males from females, mark the boundaries of their territories, even tell when a female is fertile or sniff out the best mates. By sharing similar scent signals, sifaka couples could be jointly defending their territories, or advertising their bond to other lemurs in the group.

“It could be a signal that they’re a united front,” Drea said.

“[They could be saying] we’re a thing. We’ve bonded. Don’t mess with us,” Greene added.

This work was supported by Molly H. Glander Memorial Undergraduate Research Grants, Duke University Undergraduate Research Support grants, and by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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