Friday, December 31, 2010

2010, the year that was ...

It's not New Year Eve without writing or at least talk about what you have accomplished throughout the year. I will spare you details of my personal life because I figure most of you probably doesn't really care that in 2010 I adopted a third cat (when she was 2 days old) and became her surrogate mother, sponsored a macaque named Kera at Primarily Primates, volunteered at Prospect Park Zoo and was accepted to Hunter for grad school. No, I won't bore you with that (Ha!).

Instead, I will just talk about my blog. 2010 was a good year in general for The Prancing Papio. Although I wasn't able to write more posts this year, I am glad that more people found their way to my blog and had expressed interested in some of my posts. Yay for more readers!

The Prancing Papio started hosting The Four Stone Hearth, a bi-weekly blog carnival that specializes in the four-field approach of Anthropology (Archaeology, Cultural, Biological and Linguistics). You can read all three editions that The Prancing Papio hosted, #93, #98 and #103. I will be hosting another edition of Four Stone Hearth again on January 19th. Be sure to come back and check out the carnival. If you would like to submit any blog posts for Four Stone Hearth, please email me at PrancingPapio at gmail dot com.

I have listed a few interesting posts that appeared on The Prancing Papio this year. Check them out!
  1. Luigi Fossati: A forgotten early primatologist
  2. What is Primatology?
  3. Do animals keep pets?
  4. Ape behavior inside the exhibit and holding area
  5. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Callitrichids!
  6. Are slow lorises really venomous?
  7. Philippine tarsiers: Not world's smallest primates, not marsupials
  8. Innate Phobias: Fear Inheritance From Mother To Offspring
  9. Using mice to assess the degree of relatedness in chacma baboons
  10. Sexual And Natural Selection: Why Humans Are Still Evolving
Happy New Year to all my readers. May all your new year resolutions and wishes come true. I promise that I write more interesting posts next year, though right now I am most excited about starting grad school in Spring (I am one step closer to being a REAL Primatologist!). Live long and prosper, my friends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hunter College it is then.

Some of you might remember that I was rather unsuccessful in securing a place for graduate school last year. Moving out of the Tri-State area is pretty much out of the question for me (personal reasons). This leaves me with only a handful of viable schools to apply to. The ambitious student that I am, I aimed high and applied to only well known universities. I had my eyes set for either UPenn, Stony Brook or Rutgers but unfortunately none of these universities were interested in me. It didn't help that I only applied for PhD programs (in hindsight, I really should have looked into a few Masters program). I realized now that you have higher chances of being accepted to a Masters program compared to most PhD program. Unless, of course, you have a 3.99 GPA or a perfect 4.0 GPA. That, I do not have unfortunately.

"You live and learn" they say, and true to that, this year's graduate school application process is far less stressful than the year before. I knew I should look into both PhD and Masters program again but since those three universities rejected me last year, I opted not to apply to them again. If they don't want you last year ... they probably still don't this year.

I also had pretty shitty GRE scores. I totally abhor standardized tests. I don't know why but I find it really hard to do well in those kinda tests. I took the GRE twice with almost the same results. I was livid. I firmly believe that those scores do not justify me as a student and in refuse to pay hundreds to take yet another stupid GRE exam that I will probably bomb again (Am I the only who thinks that GRE is a get rich scheme?) Anyway, instead of taking yet another GRE exam, I worked around my GRE scores. I looked into schools that's not too rigid with GRE score requirements but instead weigh in on all the achievements you've got as an undergraduate.

Once I got all those criteria straightened out, the only school in the Tri-State area viable for me to even apply to is Hunter College. So, I applied to their Animal Behavior and Conservation (ABC) program. While this is no Anthropology/Primatology program, it is the closest program I found that is still relevant to my interest. I am stoked that one of the faculty, Dr. Diana Reiss, studies self-recognition and theory of mind in animals.

So I got the official letter a few days ago from Hunter's Graduate Admission Office. I've been officially admitted as an MA student for Spring 2011. Huzzah! I can't wait to get back to class after almost 2 years in hiatus. Though I really don't know what to expect being a graduate student in a Psychology department. I have had pretty bad experience with Psychology professors, both at LaGuardia Community College and Queens College ... here's hoping that Hunter is different. - Welcome to grad school. Now bite your lip and grab your ankles.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another addition to the Fork-marked lemur species?

Just in time to celebrate Monkey Day tomorrow, a new species of lemur is on the verge of being formally acknowledge in science. Primatologist Dr. Russ Mittermeien first spotted this species back in 1995 during one of his expedition to Daraina, Madagascar but said that he did not have any time to follow up with his discovery until now.

This "new" species belongs to the genus Phaner or the fork-marked lemur (the species is yet to be named since they are not formally acknowledge by science). This species, like all fork-marked lemurs, feeds on exudates and flower nectar. They are nocturnal and are arboreal quadrupeds. Photo from by Russ Mittermeien.

There are currently four species of fork-marked lemurs, making this new species the fifth if scientifically acknowledge. Fork-marked lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, like all lemur species. They get their name from the dark stripe that runs from their back and forks on their head to their eyes. Their face and stripe actually reminds me of slow lorises.

The most likely difference between this new species (besides their color) and the other four fork-marked lemurs is definitely in the genetics. This new species is likely endangered or critically endangered due to isolated or restricted range.

On a personal note, I am truly digging the language used by the media. Instead of saying "new species discovered", they actually wrote "new species to science". I prefer the latter description as it is non-ethnocentric since most "newly-discovered" species are already known to the natives in the area.

For more about this news, read New lemur found in Madagascar on BBC and New lemur: big feet, long tongue and the size of squirrel on

Sunday, December 5, 2010

These primates are busy!

I realized I have not updated my blog for almost a month now, so first and foremost, apologies to my avid readers. I know I have left you high and dry without any post! Since my last post, I have started volunteering at Prospect Park Zoo. The zoo has a special place in my heart (especially the hamadryas baboons) because it is there that I did my research for my Honors Thesis. I never thought I would enjoy working with kids but they DO ask the darndest things. Of all the kids that had asked me questions or talked to me, one really stood out. The kid asked if I know who Steve Irwin is and that he (the kid) enjoys his (Irwin's) work. Can you believe it? The kid even recited how primates are different than other mammals. I think he's gonna grow up to be me. I'm cereal.

Have you seen the new ASP website? It's quite spiffy. I actually contributed some photos to the site ... can you spot them?

The annual Monkey Day is fast approaching. Celebrated annually on December 14th, Monkey Day not only celebrates the simian that lend its name to the festival, it also celebrates anything primate (prosimians, monkeys and apes). Over at Serious Monkey Business, Ashlee is starting a Monkey Day Blog Carnival. If you are interested in contributing to the carnival, please contact her.

A friend of mine started a new blog, The Primate Chronicles. Kayley is a graduate student at University of Calgary and does her fieldwork in Belize. Check it out.

Call for submissions: The next edition of Four Stone Hearth will be hosted by Archive Fire on December 8th. If you have wrote or saw interesting Anthropology posts around the web, please send it to ambientdisorder at gmail dot comAfarensis, current host of the blog carnival, needs hosts for future editions. If you are interested, please email Afarensis, afarensis1 at sbcglobal dot net.

All over the blogosphere and Twitter-land, Anthropological primates are choosing sides. Are you "Team Jacob" or "Team Edward"? Errr .... I mean, are you "for" or "against" removing the word "science" from  American Anthropological Association (AAA)'s mission statement. The controversy with removing the word "science" from mission statement even reached CNN. Some of the interesting blog posts on this subject matter includes:

What's your stand? I don't really have a strong reaction to this, probably because I am not an AAA member. I understand the initial shock of disbelieve or just a general WTF to the decision. But seriously, are they just fishing for publicity? Those damn non-science Anthropologist!

Last but not least, to my Jewish readers, Happy Hanukkah. Chag Sameach!