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The Michigan Anthropology Colloquia Series: "The sensory ecology of fruit selection by wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus imitator) in Sector Santa Rosa, Costa Rica"

Amanda Melin, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology & Department of Medical Genetics, University of Calgary
Monday, October 1, 2018
3:00-5:00 PM
411 West Hall Map
"Sensory systems are our interface with the external world. Longstanding hypotheses concerning primate origins hinge on the relationships among sensory systems, diet and activity pattern and revealing these dynamics is important to understanding primate adaptive radiation. I ask how primates use their senses to find and select foods, and how diet and habitat have shaped vision, olfaction, taste, touch and hearing over the course of primate evolution. Here, I will discuss my collaborative research on the sensory ecology of wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus imitator) in the tropical dry forests of northwestern Costa Rica over the past 14 years. Data from behavioral, genetic, life history, and visual modelling approaches provide compelling evidence that color vision polymorphism is maintained by balancing selection, and that monkeys with different sensory phenotypes have distinct ecological advantages and disadvantages. Trichromatic (color-normal relative to human) capuchins have higher foraging efficiency on many ripe fruits, while dichromats (red-green colorblind) are more efficient at capturing surface-dwelling insects. Capuchins also integrate their senses of vision, olfaction, touch and taste in complex ways during foraging, and their sensory gene repertoire is diverse. Additionally, I will discuss how plant properties shape primate behavior - variation in the frequency of fruit sniffing can be linked to the chemical profile and odors of fruits as they ripen, as well as presence/absence of haptic and color variation. Investigation of primate sensory ecology is still in its infancy; I end by highlighting promising avenues of future research in this dynamic and enthralling area."

The Michigan Anthropology Colloquia Series presents speakers on current topics in the field of anthropology.
Building: West Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: AEM Featured, Anthropology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Anthropology