Essay on Primates Observation: Spider Monkey and Sifaka

Essay on Primates Observation: Spider Monkey and Sifaka

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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 anot...

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...ey have specially adapted hind legs to help them fly through the air at such great distances. The trees that they land on are super spiky and nobody really knows how they can land on the branches directly without hurting their feet, which is clearly an adaptive trait seeing as no other primate can do what they do. The Sifaka is not designed to walk on all fours, ground locomotion wastes energy, tires them out, and makes them susceptible to snakes and other predators. Which is why they choose to hangout in the trees, away from predators-- so they can work smarter not harder. This to me shows that they are using their brains, just as humans do to avoid expending more energy than necessary to get by.

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