Estación Biológica Cocha Cashu
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Comparative behavior and ecology of juvenile neotropical primates

Principal Investigator: Laura Bidner Department of Anthropology Box 872402, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287-2402

The proposed project will serve as a pilot study for a long-term field study comparing the behavioral ecology of sympatric juvenile primates at Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park, Peru. Juvenile primates are unique among mammals in having low growth rates and late ages of sexual maturity. These traits have been related to such factors as body size, brain size, social complexity, and stress from food competition and predation. Often comparative analyses of the values of primate life history traits are used to identify the most significant of these factors. Although comparing the behavioral ecology of juveniles of different primate species may better demonstrate the variation in risks and benefits of the juvenile period, few studies of this nature have been conducted. No studies have yet been undertaken which compare the ecology of juveniles of sympatric species to ensure that detected variations are not due to habitat differences. This project will identify primate species to incorporate into such a study of sympatric species, and test the methodology for collecting behavioral and ecological data which will be meaningful in comparative analyses. Although necessarily preliminary, this project is a first step toward improving our understanding of a major puzzle in primate, nonhuman and human, life history.