Author

Gina Munir

Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Paul Nealen

Second Advisor

Bill Brenneman

Third Advisor

Daniel Widzowski

Fourth Advisor

Summer Arrigo-Melson

Abstract

Comprehensive cognitive testing has been completed with zoologically housed siamangs (a member of the primate family Hylobatidae) using Monkey CANTAB cognition testing software (Lafayette-Campden Neuroscience) and a touchscreen apparatus. Five different operant tests examining distinctive perceptual and cognitive functions were used to train and test each subject over a period of ca. 5 weeks. Over 1500 cognitive trials were completed with 3 subjects. Siamangs completed several cognitive tests well above chance level, with performance levels that meet or exceed results obtained in tests of Old World monkey species (including macaques [sp. Macaca] and baboons [sp. Papio]). For some tests, siamang results closely match those of great apes. These data comprise the first successful tests of a hylobatid ape using modern cognitive testing methods and suggest that hylobatids may exhibit cognitive skills exceeding those expected by their phylogenetic position among the haplorhines.

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