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Data Exercise: Module 6

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Data Exercise Instructions:

This week I would like you to learn to record primate behavior in a systematic way. You can use the cams or go to a local zoo if you wish. Please post your data here by clicking Reply.

Primatologists record behavior by scanning a primate group at regular intervals, say every 30 seconds. Why use timed scans? Primatologists use scans to control for time. If they do not use timed scans they may tend to over record some behaviors at the expense of others. By controlling for time, the researcher can develop activity budgets that will accurately show what percentage of time is spent for each activity.

Record the behavior for each individual in the group you are studying every 30 seconds. For example, if there are six individuals, during the first scan you might observe that three are resting, one is eating, and two are using terrestrial quadrupedalism. You would record these scans like this:

  • Scan 1: 3 R (resting), 1 E (eating), 2 TQ (terrestrial quadrupedalism)
  • Scan 2: 2R, 3 TQ, 1 OV (out of view)
  • Scan 3: 1 R, 3 TQ, 2 OV

Continue your scans for at least one hour

You will notice above that I use abbreviations, such as R, E, TQ, etc. Using abbreviations will help you when trying to record data for fast moving primates. Please use the following abbreviations or come up with your own as is necessary to record what you see. Be sure to provide a key that explains what each abbreviation means.

  • R resting
  • E eating
  • TQ terrestrial quadrupedalism (walking on all fours on the ground)
  • AQ arboreal quadrupedalism (walking on all fours on a branch)
  • B brachiation (arm over arm swinging from branch to branch)
  • G grooming
  • F friendly behavior
  • A aggressive behavior
  • OV out of view

To get full credit for this forum:

  1. Select one of the links below or google, ‘ape cam’ or ‘primate cam’ for more links.
  2. Watch the primates for at least an hour.
  3. If the primates are out of view, try another cam or try back later. Please note that cams will not be viewable after dark local time.
  4. Every 30 seconds record any behaviors you see. You should have at least 120 scans by the time you finish.
  5. Post your results for the data you recorded. You should:
  • a) mention the cam and the species you studied.
  • b) post your scans
  • c) post a key showing what each of your abbreviations mean.
  • d) Give a general description of what you observed.

6. Now comment on the work of two other students using at least 25 words per comment.

Two primate cams I recommend:

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