What does our future hold for us? Will it fulfill our wishes and dreams? Will we have a happy family? Well in order to worry about our future, we have to learn from our past and how we have changed. About 65 million years ago, a meteor hit Earth and primates started to show up and eventually lead to our creation. There are many different kinds of primates that we have studied and learned from. We can go to different places to view and understand their life style. The Fort Worth zoo is one of those places where I went to observe and learn.
I got to observe two white-cheeked gibbons and three ring-tailed Lemurs. Apart from their difference they also have some similarities. The first primate that I observed was the white-cheeked gibbons. They are also known as Nomascus leucogenys and they can be found in canopies in subtropical rainforests. White-cheeked gibbons are known as lesser Apes and are endangered. The adult female is the dominant member then the female offspring, while the adult male is considered the lowest and has the least amount of power. Their diet consists of different kinds of fruits and the color of their fur tells us about them.
The zookeeper said that Gibbons are born with a golden/cream color fur and at the age of two the fur becomes black. I found it interesting that after maturity, female fur goes back to the golden/cream color whereas the males keep the black fur. I wonder if it is common to have older gibbons that have not reached maturity or some that reach it early. There were two different kinds of gibbons that I saw; one was a male with black fur, black face and white cheeks, while the other gibbon was a female with a golden/ cream colored fur with a black face and white fur surrounding the black face.
She also had black fur on her head. t is a way to show the others who the dominate figure is. They were both in a small outdoor exhibit with a wooden display, grass, small trees, and different kinds of rocks. This exhibit was surrounded by water, except the back which was connected to their indoor home. It was morning/afternoon time so it was sunny with a little bit of cool wind, not too hot temperatures, perfect weather to come out and play. The trees and the wooden display also provided shade to keep them cool when the temperature rises throughout the day. The male gibbon was sitting in the shade in a small tree by the observers.
However, he was facing the other direction so we were not able to see what he was looking at or see if he had any facial expressions. When he was sitting, he was hunched forward and his right arm was holding a branch above his head while the other hand was on his side curled up against his stomach. The arms are longer than the body to help them swing. After about thirty minutes, the male gibbon started to swing back and forth on the wooden display. He was entertaining us while the female gibbon disappeared behind the display to a place where I could not see her anymore.
When he was swinging around, I noticed that it is easy for them to swing around with their long arms. It looked like he was flying for a second since he let go of the first branch before he grabbed the second branch. It looked like his arms went for the next branch without really thinking about it. I felt like it came naturally to him like how somethings come to us naturally. There were only these two gibbons in the exhibit, there were no children which might explain why they did not have a big exhibit to play in. Toward the end of my observation, the female gibbon came out and started to swing around after the male gibbon.
They followed a pattern so that they would not run into each other in the small exhibit. She also stopped for five to ten minutes underneath the same tree in the shade, before she went back to swinging. She landed on her feet and her right hand was holding the branch above her head and the left hand was on the ground. I felt like both gibbons did not want to get in each other’s way and stayed quite. Also they looked like huggable teddy bears, so cute. The ring-tailed lemurs were the last primates I observed. They are known as Lemur catta and the word lemur means ghost in Latin due to the fur color.
The people in Madagascar thought that they looked like ghost and so that is why they are called ghost. Lemurs are prosimians and they are normally found in woodlands near Madagascar. They have white fur in the front of their body while they have gray around their back with black fur around their eyes and mouth. Their tail is striped with black and white fur and was longer than their hands and feet. They were in a small outdoor exhibit that could be seen from the left and right but not center since it was blocked off by tress. The exhibit was covered with bushes, grass, flowers, trees, and big rocks.
There was also a wooden platform where they can sit in the shade or in the sun. They stayed near one end of the exhibit more than the other so we did not have to move around to watch them. There was also a little waterfall near us then the lemurs. The weather was warmer now and the wind was slower. The zookeeper told us that Lemurs use their tails to signal to one other and the males would rub a scent on its tail to attract the females. I noticed that they will lick to clean themselves. The Lemur, I was watching, was laying on the wooden platform in the shade on its right side facing me.
After a little while, he got up and sat on his legs and was turning his face to the left and right. The zookeeper also said that they have limited eye movements and so they have to turn their head to see but it also gives them a wide gaze. It looked like he was eating something like maybe the leaves to his left. There was another Lemur that was sitting underneath to the right of the Lemur was watching. They knew that they were there and so when my Lemur got up to move into the sun on their higher platform, he moved his tail so that the Lemur underneath will know that he is moving around and not to move so they don’t collide.
His tail moved right in front of the second Lemur and the second Lemur looked up to see the first Lemur. At this point in my observation, there were only two Lemurs, one that was sitting in the shade that moved to the sunny side of the platform and the second that was underneath the platform in the sun. After thirty minutes of just sitting in the sun and cleaning themselves, a third Lemur came from around the big rocks and they were aware of each other. The top two Lemurs looked at each other for a second and then went back to doing whatever they were doing. The third Lemur was looking for something in the rocks.
Something like what dogs do when they smell something. After five minutes, the third Lemur was eating some food. His face went to the food rather than using his hands to bring the food to his mouth. My original Lemur was still sitting in the same position. They did not interact with one another and continued to just sit around and look to the left and the right. Later on, my Lemur got up and moved to his right and sat down like we sit on a chair, legs apart with his tail on his left, leaning on his back. His back was facing the third Lemur who was sitting and eating on the rock.
He got tired and so he got up again and moved back to where he was sitting in the sun on the top platform. Then after five minutes, he leaped down to the second platform and disappeared behind the bushes. Not a minutes after, the second Lemur on the bottom also got up and followed the first one behind the bushes. At this moment, I only could watch the Lemur on the rock, eating what looked like leaves. However, now he was eating by bring the food to his mouth using his hands rather than using his mouth to get the food. At a moment, I thought he was looking right at me and then went back to eating.
He reached with his right hand and grabbed something that I could not see and ate it. It looked like what little babies do when they have not learn to walk but rather reach for things using their hands and feet. As soon as he ate that, he leaped down to the second level on the platform and then leaped onto the grass where the bottom Lemur was sitting before he left. He was sitting on his legs and there was something in his right hand that he started to eat. As soon as he finished that, he left so I was no able to see where he went. They did not come out after that.
The white-cheeked Gibbons and the Ring-Tailed Lemurs have some similarities and differences. One of the similarities was their exhibit. They both lived in a place that had grass, water, rocks, and even a wooden display or platform for them to move around. They also had trees for provide shade. I learned that both Gibbon and Lemurs have females as their dominate figure who runs the territory. One of the difference that I noticed was how they communicate. The Gibbons used sound while the Lemurs used their tails. Also the Gibbons had more open space to move around then the Lemurs.
The Gibbons were also more active by swinging around than the Lemurs who were just sitting around and eating. Though, these two animal are very different in appearance and body structure, they both are Primates. They are an example that we all are different and that we can live together but we have to make sure that we are not doing something that would hurt someone else. We all come from different places and are different, so in order to be successful in our future, we have to be able to learn to change and adapt to our surroundings.