Emmaline Jones Humanities and Social Science
Comparative Primate Cognition: Lemurs and Old World Monkeys
In the realms of primatology and animal science, it is generally considered that Old World monkeys possess greater cognitive powers than lemurs. I will be investigating this assumption through the observational analysis and testing of these animals’ cognitive abilities. This will include comparing skills such as memory and problem solving between populations of these primates at the Oakland Zoo, a leader in animal welfare and conservation. Species included will be red-tailed monkeys (Cercopithecus Ascanius), crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus), and ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Through the presenting of different types and shapes of containers filled with high-value food items, and periods of absence from this stimulus, I plan to discover the amount of time it takes for the animals to figure out the problem at each phase of the study. This research will not only help to better understand variation in primate cognitions, but will also aid in conservation efforts by fostering appreciation, assessing and evaluating new enrichment practices, and continuing to learn how to improve the overall quality of these amazing primates’ lives in captivity.