Abstract # 57:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


T. A. Clarke1,2, G. X. Razanatsila3 and P. C. Wright2,4
1New Mexico State University, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, MSC 3BV, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA, 2Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, 3 University of Antananarivo, Department of Anthropology, 4Stony Brook University

Studies of ontogeny, behavioral development of infants and mother-infant relationships among anthropoid primates are well represented in the literature. Conversely, studies of strepsirrhines seem to be underrepresented regarding these subjects. The Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, (Propithecus edwardsi) a southeastern rainforest lemur species has been the focus of a longitudinal study in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar for the past 22 years. Valuable information has been obtained concerning this endangered species, however; one area of research that remains to be investigated is infant development, behavior and mother-infant relationships. The aim of this study was to conduct an initial investigation of these topics. Data were collected over a two and a half month period during the austral winter, using a combination of focal animal sampling and ad libitum data collection methods. Over a period of 10 weeks, a total of 221 sampling hours were conducted across four mother/infant pairs. Infant sex is known for 3 out of 4 of individuals, and the appearance of each infant was noted within five days or less of birth. During weeks 1-3 infants proved to be precocious; manipulating and climbing behaviors were observed. These behaviors were maintained throughout weeks 4-10. Yet, infants were found to spend 73-86% of their time resting and a series of chi-squared tests indicated that there were no significant differences [p>0.05] in how infants spent the remainder of their time.