Abstract # 96:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 08:15 AM-09:15 AM: (Mayfair Room) Featured Speaker


D. Lindburg
Zoological Society of San Diego, Zoological Society of San Diego, P. O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112-0551, USA
     Procuring food and mates and avoidance of predation are basic survival tasks that all mammals must resolve. Resolution derives from a limited set of processes and provides opportunities to pursue common threads through inter-species comparisons. The scientific effort in primatology is replete with examples of insights obtained from studies of other species, particularly those in the Class Mammalia. It would appear, however, that we infrequently draw on studies of the Carnivora for enlightenment, given their often sharply contrasting ecologies and consequent approaches to survival. The strongly herbivorous habits of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)—a carnivore—are well known, and may afford a common thread that can be pursued to our benefit as primate specialists. Less well known is the broad similarity in the endocrine profiles of estrus, and the implications this commonality may have for improved understanding of the mode of ovulation. The retention of ancestral traits that no longer have fitness value (phylogenetic inertia), is well documented in carnivores such as the ursids, yet is rarely mentioned in evolutionary studies of primates. I review this trinary of topics in pandas, with suggestions of possible applications to primate studies.