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Observing Primates at the Zoo

Categories: HumanZoo

Going to the zoo has always been a favorite American past time. Families would sometimes retreat to this place where animals from the wild are caged and enjoy how these animals interact with each other. While man has always been at the top of the pyramid, the wonder of seeing these animals live and relate with others in their species has time and again drawn old and young children alike. Among the animals closest to man are the gorillas, baboons and mandrills.

In the same way that man forms his own community, these animals also form their own legions of society.

Gorillas like humans have their own distinct identification. Whereas man is identified according to his fingerprints, gorillas on the other hand are identified through their noses in which each gorilla has its own unique nose pattern. Gorillas moves quadrupedally and uses a special kind of quadrupedal gait wherein it uses its knuckles, hence, the term “knuckle walking”. Gorillas can also climb trees or higher surfaces but they cannot move suspensory as in the case of monkeys.

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Looking at the group of gorillas closely, one cannot see that it is patriarchal and polygynous in the sense that a basic group is composed of one male, usually a mature-silver black male wherein he acts as the leader of the group and unlike other primates, gorillas are more reserved. When they are in the wild, female gorillas would normally leave their group upon reaching sexual maturity and would tend to join groups of gorillas with a fewer females.

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It is evident by watching these groups of gorillas that there is hierarchy among them although males place high in the hierarchy.

Like humans, grooming among gorillas also has become an essential habit and this usually occurs between the male silver back and the adult females. However, despite having lived in the care of humans, gorillas seldom interact with them. In fact, in the twenty-minute observation of this species, only once did the gorillas notice their visitors. They seemed to be living in their own world and no care whatsoever with its human visitors. While gorillas are reserved, baboons on the other hand most frequently interact with people.

As seen by their actions, baboons are intelligent and very crafty that when they are in the wild, they are often treated like pests because they steal agricultural crops. But like gorillas, baboons also move quadrupedally although when they run, they seem to be like that of a horse galloping. They are very lithe and when something gets its attention, baboons tends to become excited and would run abound in its cage. Adult baboons sit in small groups while they grooming each other and the young ones play around.

And ironically, among all the primates, the baboons seemed to be the most conscious and conceited because they spend most of their time grooming themselves although this can be different when they are in the wild. This is probably a form of forging a bond among their group while keeping their bodies free and clean or external parasites that would cling to their furs. Unlike gorillas which have a definite male hierarchy, baboons on the other hand allow females to rise in rank as leaders in their groups.

Young baboon males enter new groups by forming “friendships” among females by protecting and defending them. Even for a short period of time, it is evident that baboons can also be aggressive especially among males. On the other hand, the black and white colobus monkey seems to be a mutilated or mutant form of primates. Although its black and white fur is very beautiful, it does not have thumbs like the baboons and gorillas. The infant black and white colobus are nearly white all over that it barely resembles its parents.

Its tale is very fluffy like that of a stuff toy and their stomach seemed to be bloated and large. The black and white colobus monkey is very lithe and agile. It rarely goes to the ground and uses the branches and bars as trampolines, jumping up and down and leap among bars. Like the gorillas, the black and white colobus monkey is dominated by a male and forms its own territory. Because the colobus monkey tends to stay up on branches and bars surrounding its cage, it rarely interacts with humans.

This kind of primate moves quadrupedally and is a semibrachiators as well as an agile acrobatic leaper. In fact, it can move up from bar to bar or from one branch to another with a length of six meters. Interestingly though, the tail of the colobus monkey is being used to balance itself. It is also funny to take note of that colobus monkeys belch on each others faces. When they are out in the wild, the colobus monkey is normally headed by a male but the female is not totally dominated.

For example, the female black and white colobus monkey in the zoo seemed to form a society or bond of their own, taking care of the offspring of one and seemed to pass it along to other female colobus monkeys that it is hard to keep track which is the mother of the infant colobus monkey. Indeed a visit to the zoo even for just twenty minutes will render a visitor various insights as to how these animals act and move. The facts learned from books and the Internet are not only substantiated but also corroborated and having kids around to watch these animals will definitely teach them how these animals live in their own communities.

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Observing Primates at the Zoo. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/observing-primates-at-the-zoo-essay

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