Abstract # 208:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 2, 2003 11:00 AM-12:00 PM: (Science Theatres 148) Featured Speaker


WHAT MARMOSETS HAVE TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE

S. D. Tardif
Southwest National Primate Research Center, P.O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, USA
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      It is a gift to get paid to study animals. It is a rare gift to spend your professional life understanding one species or group of species. I have been fortunate to study callitrichid primates for the past 27 years. Spending so much time thinking about marmosets has shaped my life in ways that I could not have foreseen when I began. The following are important lessons that marmosets have taught me about life: 1. Size matters, but so does phylogeny. Marmosets present an amazing opportunity to see what evolves when small size is combined with a life history typical of a much larger animal.; 2. Raising babies is hard work and expensive, so time your reproduction carefully and get help from your friends. The combination of small size and primate life history is, I believe, responsible for unusual features of marmoset reproduction, such as suppression and cooperative care; 3. Anthropologists and Psychologists are people, too. Those of us interested in callitrichid primates have been talking and working across interdisciplinary lines for many years. This approach has led to a highly integrated understanding of these animals.; 4. Time spent getting a feel for an organism is never wasted. In these days of reductionist biology, it is important to maintain a career path for those who wish to pursue an integrated understanding of a given species.