I’m in the process of moving house, and up until a couple of days ago, I had about 100 Uni deadlines, too. Lots of stress, lots to do, too many animals in my house, and not enough time. I’ll try to post some more after Sunday, when I move. However, the internet where I am going is shocking. Don’t give up on me, I’m still here and still Primatin’.
I’m also planning to go to this exhibition soon, which I think (and I assume) has a Gorilla and a few other primates. Along with lots of other amazing animals. Should be awesome.
Feel free to send me messages, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can!
Orangutans Are Skilful Nest Builders Whose Engineering Expertise Rivals That Of Birds
The sophisticated nest building skills of Orangutans exhibit a degree of technical knowledge to match those of the most talented birds, say scientists.
The great apes construct large, oval nests in tree canopies where each evening they will curl up and sleep but little is known about their mechanical design.
A year-long study of over a dozen nests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has now shown the orangutans choose strong, rigid branches for the structural parts that support most of their weight. Females usually weigh about 100lbs but large males can weigh as much as 250lbs.
Weaker, pliable branches used for lining suggests the apes choose which ones to use where by examining their diameter and rigidity.
And sticks picked for the framework were cleverly snapped halfway across - leaving them attached - whereas those in the lining were completely severed.
The findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest orangutans use knowledge of the different ways branches break to erect strong and comfortable nests.
Biologist Dr Roland Ennos, of Manchester University, said - orangutans, like some birds - might possess engineering expertise.
Dr. Derek Wildman Completes Genome Sequence Of Great Ape Who Understands English, Plays Music
A Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher is one step closer to understanding the genetic basis that enable bonobos, one of humankind’s sibling species, to learn language, play music and use rudimentary tools.
Derek Wildman, Ph.D., led a team that isolated the DNA and sequenced the genome, or whole inherited genetic make-up, of Kanzi, a bonobo based at the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary in Des Moines, Iowa. The sequencing, only the second of its kind, was performed at both WSU and an off-site private company.
Dr. Wildman is associate professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, and of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is the director of the Molecular Evolution Group at WSU’s Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics.
Kanzi, 32, was raised from birth in a family of five humans and eight bonobos, and was trained to use and understand simple spoken English to communicate. He also plays music, makes fire, cooks simple meals, and makes and uses flint knives. The goal of sequencing Kanzi’s genome is to understand the unique abilities of Kanzi and the other bonobos living at the sanctuary.
“We can compare Kanzi’s genome to the genomes of humans, and other primates in order to see what is unique about Kanzi from a genetic perspective,” Dr. Wildman said. “We also can see what Kanzi shares with other primates. Because we have also sequenced his transcriptome we can build gene models that are more accurate, and we can see which genes are expressed in his blood, and in the placenta of Kanzi’s son, Teco. This is a very important first step in untangling nature from nurture in the cognitive development of bonobos.”
Baboons Learn To Recognize The Difference Between Real And Fake English Words
I bet you can raed waht tihs syas, eevn tohguh smoe wrods are sracbmled.
In his PhD thesis, Graham Rawlinson of the University of Nottingham showed that if one jumbles a word’s interior letters, but preserves the positions of its boundary letters, people can still read the word with more ease than one might expect. Language standardizes the position of letters in words—what linguists call orthography and what is more colloquially known as spelling —but clearly the human brain can handle a little disarray.
But what if you have no idea how to spell? What if you have never seen written words before? What if you are a baboon? For the first time, scientists have taught baboons to tell the difference between English words and strings of letters that do not spell real words. The researchers conclude that—without any prior knowledge of written language —the primates learned to identify individual English letters and what kinds of letter combinations differentiated true English from nonsense words. The new findings suggest that some of the ways human brains understand written language do not depend on previous experience with written words or spoken language. Instead, when learning to recognize letters and words, our brains may co-opt circuits that evolved to recognize objects in our environment.
Jonathan Grainger of Aix–Marseille University in France and his colleagues trained six baboons to distinguish four-letter English words from nonsense strings of three consonants and one vowel. The baboons sat in front of a touch screen on which either a real or nonsense word appeared followed by an oval and a cross. Using wheat pellets as rewards, the researchers trained the baboons to touch the oval when a real word appeared and the cross when the letters formed only gibberish. One and a half months later, the baboons had learned to distinguish as many as 308 true English words from nonsense strings with nearly 75 percent accuracy. The study is published in the April 13 issue of Science.
Remember, the baboons have no idea what any of the words mean. As far as anyone can tell, all the baboons know is that there are two categories of patterns on the screen: pressing the oval in response to one category and the cross for the other earns a wheat pellet. But Grainger and his colleagues also see evidence that the monkeys are not simply memorizing which patterns correspond with either the oval or cross. Over time, the baboons got better at distinguishing the true words from nonsense. At first, hundreds of trials were required for the baboons to learn that, say, “wasp” and “feet” belong to one category and that “tokl” and “tezp” belong to another, but the more time they spent in training, the faster they differentiated real and made-up words, making fewer mistakes.
I just applied for a Zoo Keeper Apprenticeship and only 2 people get it and it is quite close to where I live so I wouldn’t have to move and you gain a qualification and training in a recognised institution and I get paid for it too and omg omg if I have 1000 fingers they would all be crossed right now but I only have 8 fingers so they’ll have to do.
Seriously this is a massive deal. It is the first animal husbandry job I can actually do, usually my shitty media course ruins everything for me. I’m so excited and nervous.
Just found a group on Facebook where people are selling lemurs, macaques, marmosets and capuchins as pets. All are only a few weeks old (literally - the macaque I saw was probably only about a month old). It actually made me feel sick.
And all the comments on the pictures where like, “OMG!!1!!! SO COOTE! I WANT 1!”
Those ‘pet’ monkeys have been ripped from their mothers at a ridiculously young age, when they would normally stay with them more much, much longer, and have been offered up for sale as cute fluffy little playthings. Never mind the bond between mother-infant. The mother is just a breeding machine, whose only purpose is to keep churning them out. The infant is a ball of fluff with big pound signs (or in this case, dollar signs..) slapped on it.
All for profit. Absolutely disgusting.
Let wild animals be wild and let them live as nature intended. — PrimateWin
“Orangutans, of their own volition, act out incredibly detailed scenarios with their bodies, using the pantomime to communicate with humans and other apes, according to a new study.
The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, adds to the growing body of evidence that orangutan mini charade-like displays feature characteristics of language and reveal just how creative, intelligent and manipulative these great apes can be.”
Despite global efforts to halt the growing demand for slow lorises as exotic pets, the primates continue to be offered for sale, with 50 individuals found in Jakarta’s animal markets over the past fortnight.
Although totally protected under Indonesian law, slow lorises were also observed for sale in shopping malls and at a flora and fauna exhibition, designed to raise awareness of Indonesia’s rich biodiversity.
Only a week ago, 30 were seen on sale during a single visit to Jati Negara market, where slow lorises are openly sold on a daily basis.
Ranking high on the cute-and-cuddly scale, slow lorises have long been in demand as exotic pets. The problem gained international prominence after a 2009 YouTube video of a slow loris being tickled went viral.
Several international and local groups have subsequently launched online campaigns petitioning for the removal of such videos.
A recent BBC documentary on the Slow Loris of Indonesia fronts a renewed call to educate consumers and end the illegal trade in the animals.
Nevertheless, slow lorises are still a common sight in wildlife markets in some Southeast Asian countries, particularly those in Indonesia, where markets such as Jati Negara are found in most major centres.
Other markets in Jakarta, such as the well known Pramuka Market, are also major centres for illegal wildlife trade.
“The authorities need to clean up these markets and Indonesia’s reputation as a major centre of illegal wildlife trade,” says Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“The openness of the slow loris trade highlights the fact that having one of the region’s best wildlife protection laws and promising to protect species is not enough—there must be stronger enforcement in Indonesia and the public should stop supporting the illegal wildlife trade,” says Shepherd.
There are three slow loris species in Indonesia and trade is a major threat to all. The Greater Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang and the Bornean Slow Loris N. menagensis are listed by the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable, and the Javan Slow Loris N. javanicus, is listed as Endangered.
“Indonesia has an amazing array of unique wildlife and it is time real action is taken to protect it,” says Shepherd.
Prof. Finlay Examines Primate Visual System Evolution
Deep in the Brazilian rainforests, Prof. Barbara Finlay, psychology, observes the behavior of various species of primates in order to understand the evolution and development of the how primates see. Finlay takes an “evo-devo” approach to understanding and analyzing the visual system, building from the basic concept that all evolution comes from development. Her work with primates explores the intricate relationship between evolution and development.
Her work has taken her all over the world–London, Berlin, New Zealand–but her most significant work has been in Belém, Brazil. Since 1995, she has collaborated with Luiz Carlos de Lima Silveira, the Federal University of Pará, researching the evolution of monkey vision through a comparative study of the different kinds of New World primates found there, ranging from pygmy marmosets to capuchin monkeys.
One particularly interesting subject in this project is the owl monkey because it is the only monkey that has regained nocturnal sight. The owl monkey’s eyes are similar to those of their nocturnal lemur ancestors in that they are relatively large and contain a substantial amount of rods, which are receptors in the eye that enable night vision. Finlay’s team set out to determine the cause of this divergence by examining the monkeys’ embryos at specific points of development; it discovered that a variety of different cell structures could be caused by just one very early developmental change, like tampering with the timing of cells leaving the ‘stem cell pool’ and becoming specialized.
These findings begin to tackle the larger question of how evolution is able to occur in seemingly evolved creatures. Development is a means of building on current resources and environmental challenges, and organisms have to evolve in order to exploit certain niche opportunities. “Anyone belonging to a species that’s still here has gone through the filter of being evolvable,” Finlay said.