Abstract # 6102 Event # 139:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 01:45 PM-02:45 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Featured Speaker


MY LIFE WITH COTTON-TOP TAMARINS: RESEARCH FOR CONSERVATION AND HUMAN BENEFIT

C. T. Snowdon
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Department of Psychology, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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     My research with cooperatively breeding cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) began almost 40 years ago with a gift of 11 animals. As stewards of an endangered species it was important for us to develop caging and husbandry to allow successful captive breeding, to create new research methods that would not interfere with breeding or well-being, to learn as much about these tamarins as possible lest they become extinct, and to justify and to support the research through the relevance of this species for conservation and understanding human behavior. I will discuss how we developed a successful breeding colony, why cotton-top tamarins are endangered and how research with captive and field research complement each other and point to some success in conservation. Tamarins (and related marmosets) display many behaviors and capacities of interest to researchers of human behavior that are not seen in other primate models making them an interesting and important alternative animal model. I will provide selective examples involving creating and maintaining pair bonds; mechanisms leading to paternal care; how helpers are recruited and rewarded for cooperative care and how infants benefit from multiple caregivers. I will then present results from our research on the development and flexibility of vocal communication, teaching, social learning and cooperative behavior. Tamarin research bridges between important areas of primatology to our understanding of origins of human behavior.