While I was away at the AAA meeting in Philadelphia, my inbox was flooded with articles on primates from behavioral to molecular level. Here's whats happening this week in primatology:
Primate study halted by US university: Administrators at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater have abruptly cancelled an anthrax vaccine study that would have killed dozens of baboons. Can I tell you how happy I am about this? No animals should suffer for science, not even to find a vaccine for humans.
Did Social Climbing Give Us Bigger Brain? by Urban Ethology. It takes a big brain to scheme and plan, so maybe we can thank Machiavellian Intelligence and our complex social system for that big brain of ours.
Monkeys Recognize Their Pals In Photos.Tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) were tested to see if they have facial recognition using photographs. Pokorny and de Waal (2009) published their findings in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Monkeys recognize the faces of group mates in photographs (free abstract).
Social Conformity Not Unique To Humans. Another study on capuchin monkeys (talk about conforming, LOL). Dr. Marietta Dindo and Professor Andrew Whiten of the University of St Andrews show that capuchin monkeys would copy behaviors of other individuals. Not only do they copy other individual's behavior, they would copy behaviors that are the most popular in the group.
Why Some Monkeys Don't Get AIDS. Yea, why? It's not fair! Two studies reveal why some monkeys don't get AIDS and possibly identifying genes that are related to the progression or resistance to AIDS. Nonpathogenic SIV infection of African green monkeys induces a strong but rapidly controlled type I IFN response (Jacquelin et al., 2009) and Global genomic analysis reveals rapid control of a robust innate response in SIV-infected sooty mangabeys (Bosinger et al., 2009). Both are free access articles in pdf.
And finally, Scent Signals Stop Incest In Lemurs. Chemical identifiers secreted from genital glands by both males and females ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) allow them to avoid incest and engage in nepotism. Decoding an olfactory mechanism of kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance in a primate (Boulet et al., 2009).