Page Three
Editor's note: “WHAT IS...” is a new feature of Primate Nooz which is aimed at some of our younger and more precocious readers in which we plan to ask different people in the field of primatology major “What is” questions. We expect the results to be pretty darn exciting, and we hope that before long kids everywhere will be clamoring for their very own copy of the Nooz.  In this issue, we begin with a question that has puzzled mankind for centuries, and to answer it we are fortunate to have Mr. Win Wing Wan, lately of the Beijing Zoo.
Mr. Win Wing Wan, lately of the Beijing Zoo

        The inscrutable tarsier is a small, furry, large-eyed primate, generally muscade and/or sennet in color, weighing on average 120g. or 4.25oz. and occupying the approximate ecological niche of an owl.  Tarsiers live only on the spicy islands of Southeast Asia.  Four species are taxonomically recognized: Horsfield's, Philippine, spectral and sulky.  Of these, the sulky tarsier is the best known and the least liked.
          Tarsius irritatus, like the other tarsiers, is only secondarily adapted to a nocturnal life, having many features much more in common with the anthropoids than with the prosimians, such as its proclivity to start small fires to provide light for itself after sunset.  Tarsiers, like anthropoids, have relatively heavy neonates, but the infants are more precocial.
          Solitary ranging pairs of males and females are often synterritorial, and there is a marked degree of both inter- and intra-specific variation in the amount of social contact that is observed.  Tarsiers have large and membranous ears and a tail the distal third of which is slightly tufted.  Their eyes are huge and practically immobile, but they can turn their heads around 180°, thus affording them a wide range of vision.
          Tarsiers derive their name from their elongated tarsal region.  This and the fusion of the tibia and fibula in the lower third of their lengths give the tarsier tremendous leaping ability, which it uses to good advantage in catching the insects that make up 90% of its diet.  Tarsiers have been observed leaping 50m into a tree to grab a cockroach for breakfast.
          Tarsiers have 34 teeth, having lost two of the incisors that are retained by the lemuriformes.  Their long hands are prehensile, with non-opposable thumbs, and their fingers have fleshy digit pads to facilitate clinging to vertical supports.  The eye of the tarsier lacks the tapetum lucidum of the other prosimians.
          In addition to insects, tarsiers eat spiders and lizards, and are preyed upon by owls.  They are primarily arboreal and remain in the trees most of the time.  All digits have small flake-like nails except the 2nd and 3rd digits of the feet, which have toilet claws.  Marking is accomplished by urination, and is a nightly territorial ritual.  Tarsiers rest in an upright clinging posture with the knees tucked under the chin and the tail used as a support.
          Preferred habitat for tarsiers is primary and secondary forest and they typically occupy the lower understory of     (Cont. on page 4)


Pssst!  Hey!  Over here!  Behind the tree!  Want some fruit?  I can get you anything you want. Rambutans, durians, pandanus, mangosteens, jungle oranges, langsat, jackfruit, tarap, wild plums, figs, anything!  Hard to find items not normally available out of season.  Free toxin chart with every 50lbs of fruit purchased. Frank's Fresh Fruits (behind the tree).

Are your ischial callosities dry, chafed, sore? Now you don't have to be afraid to sit down anymore.  Try Ike's Professional Strength Ischial Callosity Cream.  It goes on without smearing, it lasts all day, it comes in several popular colors, and it really, really feels good.  Sold exclusively at Hellmouth Hardware Store, Hellmouth.

Dominance problems? Can't push around the sub-adults the way you used to?  Losing your grip on the top spot? Call Jungle Jim Fitness Centers and they'll set you up with a convenient appointment.  And please, be reasonable, we can only do so much, so don't expect miracles.  Call today, or tomorrow.

Classes in suspensory brachiation and quadrumanual locomotion now being formed. All levels including remedial and advanced. Contact the Nooz education office.

Tickets still available for the lecture by Dr. Ambato Ambilobe on the giant mouse lemurs of Madagascar Saturday night in the main auditorium of Hellmouth High School.  Call (790) 444-3030 for information.  Don't delay.



Primate Nooz is pleased to announce the prizes for our 1988 Photography Contest, the deadline for which is August 20th. 3rd Prize is going to be a one-year supply of your favorite leaves, 2nd Prize will be a year's supply of your favorite fruit, and 1st Prize will be an entire year's supply of your favorite insects. Don't blame us if you get the wrong prize for your particular diet.  The Grand Prize winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to beautiful Libreville, Gabon on Gabon Airways, where he, or she, will dine to his, or her, heart's content high in the canopy at the internationally famous Bug Room.  He, or she, will be served a virtual feast of every type of upper canopy insect known to science, and a few select ones from lower down.  He, or she, will then be given a personal tour of the well-known Makokou Study Area, where Dr. Oondóué M. Boué will hopefully be able to introduce him, or her, to his beloved bluetails.  Then it will be home again to his, or her, own range with stories aplenty to tell. All photographs must be taken either of or by a primate.

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