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AASU Hosts 24th Annual Primatology Conference

SAVANNAH, GA— Armstrong Atlantic State University will be the site of the twenty-fourth annual meeting of the American Society of Primatologists August 8-11. Hundreds of national and international primatologists will attend the conference, featuring such topics as primatology in K-12 schools, caring for captive chimpanzees, primate ecology and psychopathology, and emerging diseases in cross-species transmission.

Scientific meetings will begin at 8:00 A.M. on August 9 and end at 5:00 P.M. Saturday, August 11. Poster sessions will be held 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. on Thursday and Friday in Memorial College Center. The Banquet will be held Saturday evening at Historic Savannah Station beginning at 7:00 P.M.

Featured speaker Lynne Miller will present a workshop, "Bringing Primatology into the Classroom" for K-12 teachers 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. on August 8. Teachers from Chatham and surrounding counties will be in attendance for the popular and highly-entertaining session. The workshop will be held in University Hall 157.

Keynote Charles Janson (University of Washington) will present "Field Experiments in Primate Ecology: The Monkeys are Always Right" from 8:45 to 9:45 A.M. on August 9. Janson studies primarily the ecological influences on social behavior in wild primates. His research focuses on how an individual's social behavior interacts with external aspects of the environment to affect a variety of proximate correlates of fitness such as energy intake, predation risk, and mate choice. His presentation will be held in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

On the evening of August 9, Peggy O'Neill-Wagner of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will present a paper on videotape exposure and recovery in monkeys. "Videos were played daily for monkey for two to four hours. Content included children's shows, cartoons, familiar monkeys, animal documentaries, blank screen, and soap operas."

O’Neill-Wagner will tell her audience that monkeys who had undergone surgery didn't pull out the sutures when they were watching TV, and "animals that had previously withdrawn from food were observed eating during videotapes showing primates eating. "She also will include the delightful anecdote of a nine-year old male housed in single caging throughout his life. He "showed higher visual orientation scores to soap operas."

On August 10, Steven Suomi and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, a secretive branch of the NIH, will deliver a paper on early rearing and its effects on learning tasks. "Infant monkeys reared in peer groups or with inanimate surrogates show deficits in social and affiliative behavior compared to mother-reared counterparts. It has been suggested that the behavioral deficits associated with these rearing conditions contribute to diminished problem-solving abilities of nursery-reared subjects."

They will make the surprise announcement that monkeys reared without contact with other living beings are less tentative in approaching inanimate objects. "Taken together, these data provide a framework for further assessment of individual and between-group differences in responsiveness of animals with different rearing experiences."

The American Society of Primatologists is an educational and scientific organization, whose purpose is to promote and encourage the discovery and exchange of information regarding primates, including all aspects of their anatomy, behavior, development, ecology, evolution, genetics, nutrition, physiology, reproduction, systematics, conservation, husbandry, and use in biomedical research. Its membership includes a diversity of people, including those whose interests are primarily focused on ecology, behavior, anatomy, immunology, conservation biology, genetics, primate medicine, captive management, and virology, to name but a few.

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