A Detailed Guide To Different Types Of Lemurs Biology Essay


Lemurs are considered the lesser primates of the primate order, primate order being the highest mammalian order humans and primates belong (Harrison ca.2010) within a scientific classification system where all organisms are grouped; the higher primates (chimpanzees, gorillas) posses complex social behaviors and larger brains while the lesser primates (lorises, lemurs) rely more on instinct but remain more intelligent than other mammals outside the primate order, respectively. Higher primates are anthropoids and lesser primates, such as lemurs, are categorized as prosimians or pre-monkeys (Gale 2001); lemurs are among the oldest primates having retained much of their features for millions of years. All lemurs bear similar traits to one another, the most notable trait is the long wet snout, also called the rhinarium, and is significantly important as lemurs highly depend on the sense of smell. Lemurs also have their lower incisors, their lower front teeth, combined into a horizontal comb known as a dental comb which is used for grooming and is an important feature used for physical necessity and social interaction. Lemurs carry a set of flat nails rather than claws and have a specialized claw called the toilet claw located on the second toe of the hind limb also used for grooming. The name lemur means ghost in Latin and was given to the lemurs by a Swedish biologist, Carolus Linnaeus, referring to their shrieking calls and large eyes as the wandering spirits of the deceased (Gale 2008). Linnaeus labeled the name lemurs to all prosimians at the time but today, lemurs are only referred to the lemurs of Madagascar and the Comores (Gale 2008). Lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar and the Comores, estimates of about 60 species of Lemur live today, all ranging from different sizes and behavior patterns. Renowned Primatologist, Alison Jolly, has studied lemurs since the 1960's opening a world of studies to the research of lemurs and how our distant ancestors (Jolly 1966) could contribute to the understanding of early human relationships -long before old and new world monkeys began to evolve.

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The separation of Madagascar from the African mainland allowed all species of lemurs to develop a more complex social diversity within each community, lemurs have been isolated on the island of Madagascar for 50 million years, leaving opportunity for various number of species to evolve before the arrival of humans. Along with the remaining lemurs, the number of extinct lemurs included 17 species and were naturally larger than today's lemurs, weighing up to the size of 440 lbs (Godfrey ca.2010), the largest extinct lemur species known today is the Archaeoindris fontoynonti weighing a hefty 400 lbs and the fossils of the extinct lemur species Megaladapis show a skull larger than a modern gorilla (Ryan 2007). It was approximately 1,500 to 2,000 years ago when humans first appeared, leaving the population of lemur species dwindling, many of the larger lemurs became extinct while others, endangered. Lemur species, today, are largely the size of a house cat; the largest is the Indri Indri, weighing up to 25 lbs and the smallest weighing below 2 oz. Of the surviving families of lemurs there are only five classifications; the standard lemurs (lemuridae), the sportive lemur (Lepilemuridae), the dwarf and mouse lemurs (Cheirogaleidae), the indrids (Indriidae) and the aye aye (Daubentoniide).

True Lemurs (Lemuridae)

The most typical of all lemurs are the lemuridae family also called the True lemurs, the ring-tailed lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs are some of the known lemurs within this family of about 18 species (Britannica 2010). Lemuridae are primarily diurnal, active in the daytime, with a diet of leaves and fruit and dentition of 36 teeth; social groups vary up to 20 within a troop with female philopatry being exhibited, female dominance that forms the core of the group; female dominance is common in all families of lemurs. Gestation period, period of time when a fetus develops, vary within the species of the lemuridae family. The Lemuridae are mainly arboreal, tree dwelling, with the exception of the ring-tailed lemur which prefers the ground but will climb trees from time to time. Lemuridae locomotor patterns, the pattern which they walk, are common in all other lemur classes, they are normally arboreal quadrupeds or tree-dwelling mammals that walk on all fours.

Sportive Lemurs (Lepilemuridae)

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The family Lepilemuridae, or sportive lemurs, contain about 10 species and within this family (Britannica 2010) the extinct Megaladapis is found along with extant species of sportive lemurs such as the Northern sportive lemur, lesser weasel lemur the and small-toothed sportive lemur. They are primarily nocturnal, active at night, solitary behavior is observed although they sometimes exhibit social behavior (Gale 2008). Male polygyny is exhibited among sportive lemurs, one male will encompass smaller groups of females separated from other males who have their own groups of females; gestation period is around 120 150 days (A.A 2010). Sportive lemur diet consists of mainly leaves but fruits and bark have been recorded to be eaten; dentition of sportive lemurs is different than the lemuridae as sportive lemurs have 32 teeth while lemuridae have 36.

Dwarf and Mouse Lemurs (Cheirogaleidae)

They are the smallest of the lemurs at sizes recorded to be less than 2 oz; they are primarily nocturnal creatures. There are 21 species within the Cheirogaleidae family, some of the species within this family are the brown mouse lemur, hairy eared dwarf lemur and Coquerel's mouse lemur being the largest in this family. More research has been studied about the behavior patterns of the cheirogaleidae, most are solitary creatures but will search for ovulating females during the breeding seasons. Though solitary behavior is speculated during feeding activities, other cheirogaleidae species have been shown to gather during nocturnal foraging-- the hairy eared dwarf lemur supposedly sleeps in pairs of 2 to 6, little is known about the hairy eared dwarf lemur but assumed pair groupings is suggested. Another example of social groupings is the Coquerel's mouse lemur which also gathers for social bonding through grooming, however, feeding remains a solitary activity (Gale 2009). Gestation period for Cheirogaleidae is estimated 50 65 days but this varies between species (Duke 2010). Locomotor behavior is arboreal quadrupedal climbers, when on ground cheirogaleidae will move by leaping on hind limbs; cheirogaleidae leap from tree to tree using their hind limbs. Cheirogaleidae do hibernate during the dry season, some species will store fat in their hind legs while others will store fat in their tails.

Indrids or Leaping Lemurs (Indriidae)

The Indriidae are the biggest of the lemur families, they are known to leap long distances using their hind legs, which are longer than their arms. All Indriids are primarily diurnal with the exception of the Avahi, which is nocturnal, and make up of 10 -19 species. The Indriidae are different from other lemurs because their locomotor pattern exhibits vertical clinging and leaping and can leap up to 30 ft (Gale 2008); when on ground Indriids display bipedal hops. Diet of the Indriidae is primarily leaves but fruits and bark is also consumed with 30 sets of teeth different from most lemurs, which is normally 36 teeth. Gestation period for Indriidae is 120-150 days, females give birth much rarely than other lemur families birthing no more than once every two or three years (Gale 2009). Social patterns within the Indriidae vary between species, the general social patterns exhibited are male groups dominated by the females while the Avahi Occidentalis remains a monogamous group most of the time.

Aye Aye (Daubentoniidae)

The Daubentoniidae is the strangest of the lemur families as it is the only extant member within this family, although one extinct relative is the Daudentonia Robusta the Giant Aye-aye. The Aye-aye is nocturnal, dentition is similar to a rodents and physical characteristics somewhat opossum-like (Gale 2008); much of the Aye-ayes' characteristics are different than a typical lemur. The Aye-aye is nocturnal and eats a diet of fruits, insects and fungi; a unique appendage of the Aye-aye is the long middle finger used to extract insects by knocking on dead wood. The Aye-aye also uses its' large rodent-like ears to hear within tree bark for insects. Another unique appendage of the Aye-aye is the continual growth of canines, similar to that of a rodents, which is used for cutting through bark and foraging; the Aye-aye has no dental comb and lacks the toilet claw familiar with most lemurs. Gestation period ranges from 158 days to 172 days ( Linzey ca.2010); social behavior is a mixture of solitude and smaller family groupings, little is known about reproductive strategies but Aye-aye birth one offspring every two or three years. The Aye-aye's geographical habitat is distributed within forests to the east, north and northwest of Madagascar; they are adaptable to the tropical, sub-tropical and swamp-like environments.

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Diet and Dentition

The diet of lemurs vary with each family and species, however, lemurs generally consume insects, fruits and leaves; the diet of the lemur continuously change in reference to the climate patterns of where they inhabit but stay within the generalities these three food groups. Lemurs play a large part in the pollination of flora among the rain forests of Madagascar, lemurs are one of the primary seed dispensers, their unique digestive system speeds the growth of sprouted seeds faster than any animal not passed by a lemur. This observation suggests co-evolution between the relationships of some Malagasy plants and lemurs (Dew & Write 1998) and the significance of their existence between the ecosystem of the rainforests on the island of Madagascar. Fruits are a significant part of a lemurs diet, around 30% of a diurnal lemurs' diet consists of fruit annually, with the exception of the Varecia variegata, the black white ruffed lemur, and the Eulemur rubriventer, red-bellied lemur, which eats 75 - 85% of fruit within its' diet annually (Gould and Sauther 2006). Fruit abundance is also associated with energy conservation because of gestation periods where lemurs expedite the most energy, lemurs will lactate more frequently during the seasons when fruit is in abundance therefore allowing for successful weening and a healthy offspring. Lemurs can adapt well to scarce resources or season changes because of their ability to conserve energy, Varecia variegata has been known to survive on leaves for many months (Gould and Sauther 2006), the ring-tailed lemur, Lemur catta, has been observed eating herbs or grasses during the wet and dry seasons (A. Jolly et al 2006). When fruit becomes scarce, lemurs will resort to eating leaves like the ring-tailed lemur; some species, like the Varecia variegata and Sifaka reap consequences of just leaf consumption: lack of reproduction and weight loss they are, however trivial, as dietary shifts in lemurs are a common behavior that make it adaptable when food sources become scarce. When it comes to nocturnal lemurs, diet does not vary significantly and many of the methods of food resources is similar; some nocturnal lemurs consume tree gum as well as diurnal lemurs. Nocturnal lemurs will consume insects especially the mouse and dwarf lemurs, however, some mouse and dwarf lemurs are more opportunistic feeders, eating tree sap, frogs, bird eggs and small birds (Gale, 2008). The nocturnal lemur, Aye-aye is especially dependent on insects and insect larvae for food as its' special appendage is made for capturing insects. However, like the diurnal lemurs, nocturnal lemurs' diets also depend on the scarcity of food resources and changing seasons.

The dentition of a lemur is well-equipped for their diet; the dental formula for a lemur, 2:1:3:3, is the same with all prosimians with the exception of the Daubentoniidae, the Aye-aye. Dental formula is the number and placement of teeth in the mouth and is useful to study the aspects of diet, sexual dimorphism or the population migration of extant and extinct mammals. Dental formula is read, in order, as incisors, canines, premolars and molars; all groups of teeth having an important role for chewing food. So lemurs generally have the dental formula of 2 incisors (front teeth), 1 canine (side, pointed teeth), 3 premolars (middle) and 3 molars (far back); lemur enamel of the teeth is thinner than other primates except the Daubentoniidae having thick anterior (front) enamel. Lower incisors and canines in lemurs are specialized teeth that form a dental comb, the incisors and canines are both long and narrow, the canines, also called the low incisiform canines form the dental comb shown here (Figure 1):

Letter A. is representing the lower incisiform canines and letter B. are the incisors in between both incisiform canines. Dental combs vary among lemurs as each lemur varies within each diet; dental combs are used for scraping, such as tree gum or tree bark, as well as personal and social grooming. Although many interpretations for the origin of the dental comb arise, whether it was firstly used for scraping and secondarily used for social grooming, the dental comb still acts as a significant tool in social and instinctual behavior in lemurs (Swindler 2002). Dental combs are not present in the nocturnal lemur Daubentoniidae (Aye-aye), they only have 18 teeth and their dental formula differs to all lemurs-- 1:0:1:3 so the Daubentoniidae has 1 incisor, no canines, 1 premolar and 3 molars. One significant reason for the Daubentoniidae's rodent like dentition is to rip and gnaw apart wood in order to extract insects; like rodents, Daubentoniidae's upper and lower incisors are continuously growing. Diastema, a space between the two teeth, separates the upper anterior incisors from the back teeth (posterior) of the Daubentoniidae; for the Lemuridae lemurs diastema is present within the upper canines and premolars. Studying a lemurs' dentition can also help to understand sexual dimorphism between species, sexual dimorphism are the physical differences between males and females (Larsen 2010), this helps to understand the reproductive strategies and social organizations of species. The Daubentoniidae exhibit no sexual dimorphism but the maxillary teeth, the upper canines, in the rest of the lemur families show little to no sexual dimorphism; however it is disputed that sexual dimorphism may or may not be present in lemur dentition (Swindler 2002).

Vision and Skeletal Morphology

Lemur morphology, the study of the structure and form of animals, and vision does not differ significantly within the lemur families; many of the smaller and nocturnal lemurs have slight skeletal and visual differences with diurnal lemurs due to their diet and time patterns. The unique trait of the primate order is the dependence on vision receptors than scent, it is a unique trait that differentiates us between other mammals. Although due to their protruding snout, lemurs are highly dependent on smell but also depend on visual perception, it is an ability that aids lemurs to hunt for food. All primates, including lemurs, have binocular vision, a useful ability to help focus on distant objects using both their eyes as apes and monkeys do. Binocular vision is enhanced due to the reduction of a snout as both eyes overlap vision to combine an in-depth visual perception depending on what type of primate; lemurs have less visual depth perception than the higher primates (apes and monkeys) so their snout is also dependent upon (Larsen 2010). Lemurs do not have eye-lids so they do not blink, instead, lemurs have a transparent film protecting the eye keeping it moist and safe from debris; some lemurs posses a reflective coat over the retina, this is commonly found in nocturnal lemurs. This reflectivity within the retina helps lemurs to enhance vision at night; it is believed lemurs are visually limited to a monochromatic, seeing in black and white, and dichromatic, seeing two colors, perspective. It is debated whether diurnal lemurs have trichromatic vision, the ability to see in three colors although not as well-developed as humans and higher apes. During the 1990's a new perspective of color vision within lemur species was discovered and suggested that some diurnal lemurs have the ability to see in trichromatic vision; Professor Wen-Hsiung Li and Ying Tan published research suggesting trichromacy. A brief outline involves Li and Tan discovering a polymorphism, a gene variation, within the X chromosomes of some female lemurs which had the ability to see in full-color vision; variations within the opsin gene, the gene responsible for color. Li and Tan analyzed tissue from 20 lemurs and found two dirunal species and one nocturnal (Li & Tan 1999).

The morphological aspect of the lemur families posses similar features but there are a few characteristics that are unique to its' own classification. Unlike most primates, lemurs do not have a prehensile tail, a tail that can grasp onto objects; lemurs do not posses bipedality, the ability to walk on two feet, so are considered arboreal quadrupeds, tree-dwellers that walk on all four limbs. The ring-tailed lemur is the only lemur that is primarily terrestrial, spending most of its' days on the canopies of rainforests. The hind limbs of a lemur are much longer than the arms, their hind limbs are used for vertical clinging and leaping for the Indriidae family or simply leaping through trees. Lemurs also posses a longer vertebrae, unlike humans which are shorter, giving it the ability of flexibility when leaping from tree to tree or any movements that accompany a quadrupedal gait. Mammary glands vary between a few species; the ring-tailed lemurs have 2 pairs of mammary glands while Varecia variegata, ruffed lemurs, have six. The ruffed lemurs are the only lemurs to carry a liter of six offspring at once, most lemurs birth once every two or three years (Gale 2008). One of the most significant appendage on the lemur is the rhinarium, the long snout mentioned before, which is highly dependent on smell; the rhinarium is present in many primitive mammals referring to its' dependability on smell rather than vision. Along with smell, lemurs also depend on vision to aid in survival. Scent is crucial to the lemur species that olfactory, smell-oriented, communication has been exhibited among lemur species; the Eulemur fulvus, or Brown lemur, uses olfactory communication to identify individuals and location (Gale 2009).

Sexual Dimorphism, Behavior and Reproduction

The only sexual dimorphism, physical difference between males and females, some lemurs posses are the coloration of their fur or larger testes in male pygmy lemurs. Sexual dimorphism is generally not exhibited among lemurs; an example of sexual dimorphism is from the Eulemur macaco or Black lemur, which displays differences in female and male coloration in fur. The female has a lighter brown coloration as the black lemur has a more dark brown to black coloration. Suggestions of sexual dimorphism within ring-tailed lemurs is possible, differences between body mass as the females are larger in size than males might exhibit dimorphism.

Like many other factors, lemur behavior varies among each family, however, not as significantly. It is known that female dominance is generally exhibited amongst the lemur species and there are many theories as to the origin of female dominance. Female dominance is often seen in the ring-tailed lemurs conveying the females being the head of the troop, with lemur troops consisting of up to 25 members; if number of members gets higher food resources will likely become scarce so careful monitoring is observed. Female dominance is not present with most nocturnal lemur species and the diurnal brown lemur, Eulemur fulvus; the brown lemurs posses no hierarchy and group themselves of 13 18 members (Gale 2008). Female natal philopatry is exhibited amongst dwarf and mouse lemurs, a kind of social organization where the females will form a group with the mother to create a long term sleeping group (Lutermann et al. 2006). Along with female dominance, social groupings are quite common in lemurs, Indri Indri's form groups with territories averaging at 44 acres (Gale 2009), Daubentoniidae forms groups within its' territory, large nests with groups containing about 5-6 Aye-aye's. Social bonding, a common behavior within almost all primates, is common among all diurnal lemurs, nocturnal lemurs has not been heavily observed; social bonding is commonly practiced by allo-grooming, grooming one another, using the dental comb (comb shaped front teeth). How often a lemur is combed by another depends on their ranking and gender; females receive more allo-grooming that males. Allo-grooming also reduces aggression in lemur societies between groups or sexes. Scent marking and voice communication are also an important behavior in lemur societies; lemurs use scent to mark their territory whether it be a favored foraging location or a place to rest lemurs will mark to communicate what is theirs or who someone is. Voice communication is generally the same aspect and normally used when lemurs are threatened, signs of affection or during mating seasons; lemurs will make 'click' sounds when aggressive, like that in the ring-tailed lemur. In Sifakas, loud roars are emitted between groups to distinguish between them. Sexual reproduction is comprised of many factors that have adapted well within female dominance in most lemur societies. For lemurs within the female dominant societies, males are submissive throughout most of the year, it is the period of estrus, hormonal changes within lemurs, when a male lemurs becomes more aggressive and begin to mate with females. To make sure other males do not mate with the same female, liquid plugs are deposited into the female's vagina; this lasts for approximately several days (Parga, 2002).

Personal Observations

It was breakfast hour that I had the privilege observing a large group of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) and two black lemurs (Eulemur macaco), a female named Juliette and male named Epi, eating a banquet of fruits and vegetables; the fruit being apples and bananas, the vegetables being romaine lettuce leaves, broccoli, and sweet potato. The other species of lemur, white, black ruffed lemur, Varecia variegata, were in a separate enclosure and only two were present, a female named Marylou and male named Bud. All species of lemurs at the zoo, based on the information provided, are primarily diurnal lemurs, so displays of expected behavioral patterns were conveniently studied and detected, based on brief research before the trip to the zoo.

The ring-tailed lemurs gathered during breakfast and ate together, with the exception of the black lemurs that took food from the dish and ate in solitude. The two black lemurs exhibited isolation amongst the other lemurs, they did not show alarm or fear as they approached for food, familiarity between the ring-tailed lemurs and themselves was perceived based on captivity, yet they preferred to eat alone. Brief research has shown that black lemurs are a social creature and carry themselves in packs of 12 to 15, like the ring-tailed lemur (Honolulu Zoo 2008), however, black lemurs are an arboreal creature rather terrestrial as the ring-tailed lemurs ate. Despite the biological similarities between both species, the black lemurs had isolated themselves from the ring-tailed lemurs. No other black lemurs were out except the only couple mentioned, the couple were brief in display and hid within the thick tree of their sanctuary.

The ring-tailed lemurs ate together in smaller groups amongst their king, the female lemurs were easily noticeable based on the fat deposits that were hanging from their underbelly. A notice was posted on the cage that explain the fat deposits on the ring-tailed lemurs, they were not a health risk and had gradually appeared over time due to their captivity. A zoo keeper advised me that the lemurs were brought to the zoo in 2001 and average around mid-twenties in age. Sweet potato appeared to have been a popular food given to all the primates, however, because of the lemurs' enlarged snout, separating the edible portion of the potato from the skin, with their teeth, was challenging; their human-like hands profoundly aided the lemurs, but remnants of sweet potato remained uneaten on the floor. As lemurs are prosimians, pre-monkeys, as mentioned earlier above, their hands are less mobile than the higher primates (gorillas, chimpanzees). Smelling each food before ingesting it and licking their fingers during consumption was a common observation. Female dominance, as mentioned before, was prevalent among the ring-tailed lemurs; the female ring-tailed lemurs sat and ate near the food dish as the male lemurs took what they are and sat away from the dish. This was to be expected as the ring-tailed lemurs naturally live in groups of 17 with the female presiding over all (National Geographic 1996 2010). Later a loud roar was heard from the row of primates at the Santa Ana Zoo; the white and black ruffed lemur appeared to have roared at the only other white and black ruffed lemur in their enclosure. Explanation of this sudden roaring between the two black and white ruffed lemurs is the possibility of social grouping habits within the black and white ruffed lemurs, at random intervals, certain species of lemurs will howl within their groupings to infer several objectives. One of the black and white ruffed lemurs defecated whilst remaining on its branch, leaving me to expect it being a primarily arboreal quadruped. Morning became afternoon and the black and white ruffed lemurs began to display more activity. The food given to them was eaten differently than the ring-tailed lemurs while the ring-tailed lemurs used their hands to forage and grasp their morsel, the black and white ruffed lemurs used their teeth rather than hands and sat in a crouching cat-like position, biting into their food. Hand usage was observed between the two black and white ruffed lemurs but not as extensively as the ring-tailed lemurs. The male continued howling at random periods of the day, performing what could be perceived, again, as calls social behavioral patterns. These howls were executed with the snout pointed in the air or pointed directly to the ground and body language seemed relaxed between the two black and white ruffed lemurs. Excrement appeared to be everywhere within the enclosures for all species of lemurs, in contrast to the higher primates, the anthropoids (chimpanzees, Capuchin monkeys) at the zoo which left their droppings in a specified area. Little utterances between the activity of the ring-tailed lemur was shown but not detectable as constant noises and body language appeared attentive although activity between each other was limited. The ring-tailed lemurs did stay on ground while the black lemurs shifted from tree to ground throughout the day. The last hour of the day showed the lemurs relaxed, resting on the ground near the tree trunk in their enclosure while the black and white ruffed lemurs remained poised on their thick branches. The ring-tailed lemurs rested on their hindquarters, arms on top of their knees, in a squat position. The black and white ruffed lemurs rested more cat-like, with all four paw-like hands and feet gripping their tree branch. Perceived notion of the black and white ruffed lemurs is of a tranquil, relaxed demeanor, in contrast to the ring-tailed lemurs; who appeared to be attentive to their surroundings and group settings.

Lemurs have been researched circa 1700's with Swedish scientist Carlos Linnaeus, known as the father of taxonomy, providing the first name lemurs and first classifying them into the primate order, along with bats. It was around the 1960's when Lemurs received more attention when primatologists Allison Jolly traveled to the island of Madagascar to study lemurs, primarily ring-tailed lemurs, in their natural habitats. Allison Jollys' first published book was Lemur Behavior a Madagascar Field Study which provided information on all species of lemurs and detailed information about two specific lemur species, the ring-tailed, Lemur catta and the Propithecus verreauxi, or Verreaux's Sifaka. Other renowned lemur primatologists are Michelle Sauther whom also studies the ring-tailed lemur extensively and has published many books relative to the lemurs. Many of the research that has been published by and well known today are the primarily the unique characteristic's shared with other primates as well as the unique adaptable mechanisms that kept the lemuridae alive and isolated on Madagascar. What is personally fascinating is the frequent discoveries of new lemur species that seem to perplex the anthropological community as more traits seem to become unique and defy perceived trends of human ancestry. A huge portion of lemur research has been the study of the lemurs native land, Madagascar, and how deforestation and increased industrial development is slowly diminishing the lemur species; it is already shown within lemurs, they are forcefully consuming certain plants not beneficial to them because food resources are dwindling. Many lemurs are surviving in captivity and will slowly change their social and instinctual behavioral patterns to depend on people for sustenance. The ending of my observations had shown a relaxed demeanor among all the lemur species, less utterances were heard and the lemurs lay in comfortable positions preparing to nap. My experiences at the zoo and over all research of the lemur species has provided the fascination of the history of primate evolution and the social structures of possibly evolving primates. It was a stimulating experience to observe prosimian primates and having what was researched on, reflect that in the lemur observations. The studying in non-human primates helps to better comprehend the social structure and skeletal morphology of creatures that shares our human ancestry. Unique characteristic's, like bipedality, is somewhat observed within non-human primates as well as primitive tool-usage and social ranking systems. We are the only organisms to practice culture, however, rare observations of culture has been exhibited in our closest relatives; chimpanzees have displayed learned behavior when other chimps have been taught to replicate the same mannerisms (PBS 2009). It was dismissed that apes do not have the ability to teach their young a new technique, several years have passed and many reports of human-like behavior has been exhibited within Chimpanzees; a recent report entailed of a rare observance of a mourning chimpanzee mother who refused to let go of her 1 year old chimp. The mother chimp carried around her deceased chimp for 68 days before discarded (Barley 2010). Examples of similar social traits can aid our understanding of archaic hominids in that we would not only understand their physical morphology but understand whether archaic hominids exhibited culture, emotion and complex thought. Without the research of non-human primates we would be left without any idea of how our evolutionary time-line began and why humans have evolved to perceive the world far more than just a means to survive.