Abstract # 10:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 11:45 AM-12:00 AM: Session 1 (Parliament Room) Oral Presentation


Lateralized Scent Marking by Captive and Wild Male Ring-tailed Lemurs

A. S. Mertl-Millhollen
Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
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     Because of the possible relationship among handedness, language and gestural communication, I investigated whether there is lateral bias in the arms used by male Lemur catta when scent marking. During a bout of marking, a male alternates a variable number of shoulder rubs and arm marks. I used all-occurrences behavior sampling, manually recorded all totally visible bouts, and required a minimum of 50 bouts per animal. The subjects included 6 wild male lemurs in Berenty Reserve, Madagascar and 4 group-living captive males at Rolling Hills Wildlife Refuge, Salina, Kansas. Limb usage for each lemur was considered lateralized if the frequency of use of one side was significantly above chance as determined by binomial z-scores at P < 0.05. Overall, I recorded 1,583 bouts of scent marking. For 9 of the 10 lemurs, there was significant lateral preference shown for the lead arm for either the first shoulder rub or the first arm mark, or both, performed in a bout. 66% of the bouts began with shoulder rubbing, and for 6 of the 9 males, the preferred lead arm for shoulder rubbing was left. Although the sample size was too small to make generalizations about population-level lateralization, the majority did show lateral bias in the lead arm used for scent marking.