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Posts Tagged "primates"

Extinction Countdown

Baby Mountain Gorillas Celebrated by 40,000 People in Rwanda

mountain gorilla baby

Well I just found something to add to my bucket list. Earlier this month 40,000 people gathered in Rwanda for the 10th Kwita Izina, the annual ceremony that celebrates and names all of the known mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) born during the previous year in the Virunga National Park Transboundary Collaboration, which stretches across [...]

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Extinction Countdown

First-Ever Video of Critically Endangered Myanmar Snub-Nosed Monkeys

myanmar snub-nosed monkey

Here’s something you don’t see every day: video footage of the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri), a species that was only discovered in 2010. You can count at least 23 of the rare monkeys, out of a total population estimated to range from 260 to 330 individuals for the entire species, in the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

$10-Million Action Plan Aims to Save World’s Most Endangered Gorilla

cross river gorilla

Great apes, and species in general, don’t get much rarer than the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Fewer than 300 of these rarely seen gorillas remain, scattered across 12,000 square kilometers of habitat along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Although legally protected in both countries, very little of the territory in [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Crisis in Madagascar: 90 Percent of Lemur Species Are Threatened with Extinction

lemur

Madagascar’s 101 lemur species are “the most threatened mammal group on Earth,” according to a new policy paper published last week in Science. The famous primates have suffered over the past five years, since the start of the country’s political crisis and resulting wave of violent unrest and environmental crime. “Since the 2009 political crisis [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Lion Tamarins versus Climate Change

golden lion tamarin

Ecologically speaking, humans maintain a pretty broad niche. We can adapt to live just about anywhere. Most other species aren’t that lucky. Take the four species of lion tamarins, for example. These small, endangered monkeys of the genus Leontopithecus rely on very narrow niches of habitat in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, areas that already face [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Coquerel’s Sifaka

Coquerel's Sifaka

These medium-sized lemurs, known for their delightful leaping ability, were only recognized as their own species in 2001, which undoubtedly slowed conservation efforts. Species name: Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) Where found: Two “protected” forests in northwest Madagascar: Ankarafantsika National Park and the Bora Special Reserve. In reality, the legal protections the lemurs enjoy in these [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Typhoid Monkey: Can Social Networks Predict the Apes Most Likely to Transmit Disease?

orangutan

A few months ago I had a conversation with someone who had just canceled a long-planned trip to see mountain gorillas in Uganda. It wasn’t an easy decision, but she had just gotten over a bad case of the flu. She knew that many human diseases have made their way into gorilla populations and didn’t [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Good News for One of the World’s Rarest Monkeys

tonkin snub-nosed monkeys

You know that a species is in rough shape when a population increase of just 20 animals is cause for celebration. But that’s the case in northern Vietnam this month, where one of the few remaining groups of critically endangered Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus avunculus) has grown from just 90 individuals in 2006 to between [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: White-Cheeked Gibbon

white cheeked gibbon roger smith

These arboreal lesser apes evolved for life in the trees. But when people cut those trees down the gibbons had nowhere left to go. Species name: Northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys). The northern and southern (N. siki) gibbons were only recognized as separate species a few years ago. Where found: Very small regions of Vietnam, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How Will Climate Change Affect Mountain Gorillas?

mountain gorilla vermeer sq

When you live on the top of a mountain, you don’t have many places to run if the environment of that mountain habitat changes. Look at the American pika, for example. These tiny, rabbit-like mammals have evolved to live in cold, high-elevation habitats and die if exposed to temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately climate [...]

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Guest Blog

Digitizing Jane Goodall’s legacy at Duke

Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1960–the same year that a U.S. satellite snapped the first photo of the Earth from space, the same year that the CERN particle accelerator became operational, the same year that the Beatles got their name–a 26-year-old Jane Goodall got on a plane in London and went for the [...]

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Guest Blog

Cheerleader for science: A chat with Mireya Mayor, author of Pink Boots and the Machete

Today is the publication day of Pink Boots and the Machete, book by Mireya Mayor, physical anthropologist, National Geographic Explorer, and former NFL Cheerleader. For this occasion, we have invited Darlene Cavalier to conduct a brief interview with the author. Darlene: You discovered the world’s smallest primate in existence in Madagascar. Walk me through the [...]

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Guest Blog

Reflections on biology and motherhood: Where does Homo sapiens fit in?

ResearchBlogging.org

As a mom to three young primates, I spend a lot of time thinking about the large role that biology plays in my life. After all, nothing could be more important (biologically speaking) than birthing and raising these offspring. It’s easy for me to type that previous statement; but it’s not quite so easy for [...]

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Guest Blog

A primatologist discovers the social factors responsible for maternal infanticide

Chicago’s nineteenth ward reeked of overripe fruit and kerosene the day Mary Stastch killed her baby. According to the Chicago Tribune on July 29, 1911, the unemployed single mother and recent immigrant from Austria left Cook County Hospital earlier that week and "wandered about Chicago for two days with the baby in her arms, looking [...]

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Guest Blog

Frans de Waal on the human primate: Make love, not war

Editor’s Note: This post is the last in a four-part series of essays for Scientific American by primatologist Frans de Waal on human nature, based on his ongoing research. (The first post, on our sense of fairness, can be read here; a second post, on the impact of crowding, is here; and a third post [...]

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Guest Blog

Frans de Waal on the human primate: Strength is weakness

Editor’s Note: This post is the third in a four-part series of essays for Scientific American by primatologist Frans de Waal on human nature, based on his ongoing research. (The first post, on our sense of fairness, can be read here, and a second post, on the impact of crowding, is here.) De Waal and [...]

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Guest Blog

Frans de Waal on the human primate: Is it “behavioral sink” or resource distribution?

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a four-part series of essays for Scientific American by primatologist Frans de Waal on human nature, based on his ongoing research. (The first post, on our sense of fairness, can be read here.) De Waal and other researchers appear in a series of Department of Expansion videos [...]

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Guest Blog

Frans de Waal on the human primate: Fair is fair

Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a four-part series of essays for Scientific American by primatologist Frans de Waal on human nature, based on his ongoing research. De Waal and other researchers appear in a series of Department of Expansion videos focusing on the same topic. How often do we see rich people [...]

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Not bad science

Scientists Get Primates to Play Cards

All three primates chose the safer option

A few months ago I moved to Reno, Nevada. Although I haven’t been to a casino yet myself, living in a so-called ‘casino town’ makes you acutely aware of the effects of gambling on people. But why do people gamble to begin with? Surely if we know that the odds are stacked against us, we [...]

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Observations

‘Chimp Pope’ Launches Scientist-Artist Blogging Partnership

No matter what you think about the Catholic Church, the “Chimp Pope” image (at left) by figurative/narrative artist Nathaniel Gold probably holds your attention and gives you pause about the latest hullabaloo. You can see a color, glossy version of the chimp pope on page 34 of Gold’s book, The Chimpanzee Manifesto, (Jessian Press, 2009). [...]

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Observations

Book review: Pink Boots and the Machete by Mireya Mayor

As a little boy, I was always drawn to books about wilderness, exotic places, explorers and wild animals. I hungrily read accounts of real events, from Joy Adamson to Gerald Durrell, and works of fiction, from The Jungle Book to The White Fang, from Henryk Sienkiewicz’s In Desert and Wilderness to the entire Doctor Dolittle [...]

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Observations

New ape fossil challenges DNA evidence about ancient split from other primates

primate skull found that might illuminate human and great ape evolution

With high-speed DNA sequencing, scientists can look at slight genetic differences among humans, great apes and other primates to arrive at new estimates of when different ancestral groups split. These findings provide invaluable insights into the evolutionary past, especially when the fossil record is sparse, as it is for the period when the ancestors of [...]

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Observations

Clever critters: Bonobos that share, brainy bugs and social dogs

NEW YORK—When it comes to brain power, we humans like to think we’re the animal kingdom’s undisputed champions. But in the past few decades we’ve had to make a lot of room on our mantle place for shared trophies. Problem-solving? Sorry, but crows and octopuses do that too. Tool use? Primates, birds and even fish [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Does Nature Need to be Nurtured?

"Boys will by boys" by Nathaniel Gold

Some say that the differences between boys and girls are just aping nature, but studies of primates tell a more complex story “Boys will be boys” is a popular refrain in schools. A bit of rough and tumble at break time? That’s natural. Likewise, “girls will be girls” is accepted without question. Some feel justified [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Helen’s Choice: Female Multiple Mating in the Natural World

“Helen would never have yielded herself to a man from a foreign country, if she had known that the sons of Achaeans would come after her and bring her back. Heaven put it in her heart to do wrong, and she gave no thought to that sin, which has been the source of all our [...]

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The Primate Diaries

We Contain Multitudes: Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin, and the Song of Empathy

"Speech" by Nathaniel Gold

In the struggle for existence how do we herald the better angels of our nature? Author’s Note: On Tuesday I will be traveling to Manchester, England for the International Conference for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine where I’ll be giving my talk entitled “A Historical Epistemology of Empathy from Darwin to De Waal.” [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Equality and Individuality: A Collaboration Between Primates

Timmy square

Longtime readers of The Primate Diaries will certainly know the artwork of Nathaniel Gold. Ever since we encountered one another’s work in the spring of 2011 we have been collaborating on a fusion of art and science. But now Nathaniel has taken part in a collaboration that goes beyond species boundaries. By working with sanctuary [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Macaque and Dagger in the Simian Space Race

Iranian Space Monkey Square

Why does the U.S. suspect Iran of faking their monkey space flight? Because we did it first. It was a blistering hot summer, as it usually is in that part of the world. The monkey’s arms and legs were tightly strapped to a metal chair as the forlorn creature was pushed into the narrow confines [...]

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The Primate Diaries

The Gospel of Wealth Fails the Inequity Test in Primates

"Andrew Carnegie" by Nathaniel Gold

Author’s Note: The following originally appeared at ScienceBlogs.com and was subsequently a finalist in the 3 Quarks Daily Science Prize judged by Richard Dawkins. Fairness is the basis of the social contract. As citizens we expect that when we contribute our fair share we should receive our just reward. When social benefits are handed out [...]

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The Primate Diaries

The Joker’s Wild: On the Ecology of Gun Violence in America

Joker by Nathaniel Gold square

The United States is the deadliest wealthy country in the world. Can science help us explain, or even solve, our national crisis? His tortured and sadistic grin beamed like a full moon on that dark night. “Madness, as you know, is like gravity,” he cackled. “All it takes is a little push.” But once the [...]

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The Primate Diaries

The Better Bonobos of Our Nature

Bonobo Square.jpg

In contrast to “killer-apes,” the latest evidence suggests our peaceful primate cousins may be a better model for human origins. Author’s note: A new study published in the journal Nature has sequenced the genome of bonobos and compared them to chimpanzees as well as humans finding some surprising results. The following is an article I [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Attachment Square.jpg

Extended breastfeeding is the norm in most human and primate societies. So why are we the weird ones? My son will be three-years-old next month and is still breastfeeding. In other words, he is a typical primate. However, when I tell most people about this the reactions I receive run the gamut from mild confusion [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Raising Darwin’s Consciousness: Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on the Evolutionary Lessons of Motherhood

"Sarah Blaffer Hrdy" by Nathaniel Gold

Click here for Part One: An Interview with Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on Mother Nature As I explored in my article, “Women and Children First”, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy has faced innumerable challenges in the course of her scientific career. However, part of what makes her work so innovative and exciting to read is how she’s used [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt On Exhibit In May/June 2013

PrincetonArtofScience

If I only had a private jet at my beck and call, I could zip around the country to all these fine exhibits… sigh! _____________ EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION Princeton University’s ART of SCIENCE May 10, 2013 – Atrium, Friend Center Engineering Library Princeton University 35 Olden Street Princeton, NJ The Art of Science exhibition marks [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Humans among the primates

A montage of modern primates. From left to right: human, tarsier, eastern gorilla, bonobo, orangutan, crested gibbon, capuchin, macaque, lemur. Image by Darren Naish.

It is not in the least bit controversial to picture humans* within the context of the placental mammal group that we belong to, the primates. Nor is it unusual for primatologists, anthropologists or biologists of other sorts to compare the anatomy, social or sexual behaviour, lifestyles or cognitive abilities of humans with those of other [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

De Loys’ Ape and what to do with it

Ameranthropoides imagined as a 'real' platyrrhine primate: image by C. M. Kosemen, from the 2013 book Cryptozoologicon Volume I (Conway et al. 2013).

Purely because the time feels about right, I thought I’d post an excerpt from the cryptozoology-themed book that John Conway, Memo Kosemen and myself published last year – Cryptozoologicon Volume I (Conway et al. 2013). The book is still available for purchase here; previously featured excerpts are linked to at the bottom of this article, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Old World monkeys of choice

Male Gelada, Howletts Animal Park. Don't call them 'gelada baboons', since they're not baboons. Photo by Darren Naish.

There have never been enough primates on Tet Zoo. That isn’t because I’m not interested in primates, nor because I don’t think about primates, or look at primates, that much… in fact, I probably think about, and look at, primates more than I do any other group of animals… it’s simply because – as is [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Tales from the Cryptozoologicon: the Yeti

Cropped version of John Conway's Yeti image.

Hot on the heels of our highly successful and much-praised All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals [BUY IT HERE], John Conway, C. M. “Memo” Kosemen and yours truly are putting together our second collaborative volume. It’s titled The Cryptozoologicon (or, perhaps, just Cryptozoologicon, I’m not sure that we’ve decided [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Nasalis among the odd-nosed colobines or The “Nasalis Paradox” (proboscis monkeys part II)

Yay, more primates. Right? Before moving on to other things (the list of subjects that need to be covered at Tet Zoo ASAP is now worryingly and impractically long), I must finish with the Proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus [adjacent photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen]. In the previous article I discussed various aspects of this fascinating monkey’s [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The amazing swimming Proboscis monkey (part I)

I am perpetually interested in monkeys. One of the most remarkable and interesting of them all has to be the uniquely Bornean Proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus, also sometimes called the Long-nosed monkey or Bekantan. Proboscis monkeys are famously named for the enormous, pendant, tongue-shaped noses of adult males; those of juveniles and females are shorter [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Marmosets and tamarins: dwarfed monkeys of the South American tropics

Marmosets and tamarins (callitrichids) are small platyrrhine monkeys: total lengths range from 40 cm for the Pygmy marmoset Cebuella pygmaea to 75 cm for the Golden lion tamarin Leontopithecus rosalia. The Pygmy marmoset can weigh as little as 120 g. Callitrichids are unique to tropical South [UPDATE: and Central!] America. About 60 species are recognised, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Zihlman’s ‘pygmy chimpanzee hypothesis’

What the hell, something else from the archives. So much for plans to publish new stuff (such as the long-awaited take on the recent Dinosaur Art event, and on the book). Anyway, the article here first appeared on Tet Zoo ver 2 in November 2009 and resulted in quite a few comments. I’ve made no [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Photoblogging: Gorilla Through Glass

gorilla portrait

One of the main challenges with photographing the non-human animals at the zoo is shooting through glass. Sometimes you just can’t get an angle without any glare, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. Photos taken October 11, 2013 at the San Diego Zoo. Top, with a Canon 60D and Canon 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. Bottom, [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Best Animal Stories of 2012

Allen's swamp monkeys. San Diego Zoo.

By Jason G. Goldman and Matt Soniak Humans have a complicated relationship with our non-human cousins. Some animals we invite into our homes, and treat as members of our families. Indeed, in November of this year singer Fiona Apple made headlines when she announced that she would cancel the South American segment of her tour [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

When Faced With A New Problem, Vervet Monkeys Look To Mom

vervet monkey

A trip to an unfamiliar part of the world is all you need in order to realize that humans have vastly different ways of eating, playing, talking, problem-solving, and so much more. Some of us use forks, while others prefer chopsticks, and still others simply eat with their hands. All three of these solutions emerged [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Chimpanzees Should Not Be Used in TV or Movies

Lots of people mistake bonobos for chimpanzees, despite the fact that they’re really two different species. But that people are familiar with chimpanzees in the first place is actually somewhat remarkable, given how rare these primates truly are. The IUCN’s most recent estimate (in 2003) for the global population of wild chimpanzees is only 172,700 [...]

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Thoughtomics

More than Just Pretty Faces

uakari_square

Specks. Stripes. Red fur. Black fur. Eye masks. Bald spots. Beards. Moustaches. New World monkeys are nature’s motley crew. Their faces display an extraordinary range of colours and patterns. Some are simple and straightforward, others intricate and complex. Take the bald uakari. Its hypervascularized, red skin is striking, but uniform. The uakari’s nose is just [...]

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