Author

Gina Munir

Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Paul Nealen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bill Brenneman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel Widzowski, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Summer Arrigo-Melson, Ph.D.

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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