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Primates Observation: Spider Monkey And Sifaka

1630 words - 7 pages

I chose to study the behaviors of the Spider monkey and the Sifaka. I chose them for a few reasons, one being that Spider monkeys are incredibly adorable and two Sifaka’s remind me of a childhood television show, Zoboomafoo. These two primate groups also struck my attention in class, so this project was a perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper. The behaviors I chose to observe were social interactions and locomotion. The biggest differences I noticed between the two primates were that the Spider monkeys have the prehensile tails and without exerting extra energy is able to engage in a few common locomotion patterns such as quadrupedal, suspensory and bipedalisim. Where as Sifaka’s lack a tail, and remain upright at all times, and the only way they don’t waste energy moving around is to jump through the trees. They both hangout in troops, eat similar things and mainly live up high in the trees-- but Spider monkeys care for their own young for up to a year while the Sifaka’s usually engage in non-maternal infant care.
Spider monkey’s live in the tropical rain forrest and are best known for their incredible prehensile tails. I think it goes without saying that their tails adapted to have dermal ridges that hold and grab on to much tighter than any other prehensile tail in the animal kingdom because they lack functional thumbs, and the tails act as fingertips in replacement. Generally speaking, they hang out in Central and South America but sometimes show up as far away as Mexico. Their epic prehensile tails, long arms and teeny13.25 pound bodies allow them to feast high up in the trees on fruits, leaves, bird eggs and spiders. Although their interaction with the environment is interesting, so is their relationship with one another.
While observing videos about the Spider monkey’s interacting, I noticed that this species is quite friendly to one another. In the first video I watched, there were two monkeys up in a tree hugging. Monkey 2 continued to embrace monkey 1 by wrapping their arms around the other. The whole time this was happening, both monkeys were making calls that sounded like squeaking-turkey gobble- vibration type noises. They follow each other around from branch to branch, shaking the branches and jumping simultaneously. They play in the same fashion that little (human) kids do. In the second video, a male and female monkey are at a habitat at the zoo. The male monkey keeps ‘petting‘ the female monkey suggestively, and doesn't really care that there is an audience. They keep holding and touching each other's shoulders as though something is wrong, just as a human would do. The male monkey also keeps trying to get the female to stand up, she is very docile the entire time and at this point she rolls over onto her back-- he continues to grab her shoulder and keeps pointing upwards, probably to a more appropriate mating place. I literally felt like I was watching a drunk freshman girl getting taken advantage of by a frat boy at...

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