Page Three
200 Months Ago Today

       200 months ago today the famed and often-lost Icelandic explorers Leif Englanberg and Olaf Petersen initiated their marathon attempt to count all the trees in the entire Amazon.  After a brief but interesting orientation and lunch in Sao Paulo, they began in the extreme SE corner of Brazil, dividing the country into 100' x 100' transects. Englanberg would count trees while Petersen napped in a hammock nearby, then they would trade places. Frequently they lost count and had to start over. But, by the time that darkness fell with tropical suddenness over the ancient, ant-strewn forests, the weary pair was rethinking the entire project, and the next day they returned to Iceland.

        200 months ago today the tall and lanky Dutch primatologist Piet Mons Apeldoorn completed the first two hundred months of his epic study of Bornean tarsiers at Kualakurun.  This was the introductory period during which the camp buildings were constructed and it was verified that there were tarsiers not far away. The normally restrained Dutchman celebrated the occasion with his 627 native assistants, all but eleven of whom have since left him, by getting drunk on fermented oilberry beer and going for a swim in the swamp. He could be heard singing the Indonesian national anthem at 3am and had to be sedated with a tranquilizer gun.

        200 months ago today the eminent Japanese primate specialist and rice carving expert from Edo University Dr. Takeshi Takeshitahara was lost in a whirlpool off the coast of China. He was the editor of the Small Primates of Asia children's series, and once served as Chief Managing Director for the Takeshitahara Primate Organ Donor Program.

Editor's note:  “WHAT IS...?” is a semi-regular feature of Primate Nooz which is aimed at some of our younger readers and in which we ask different people in the field of primatology major “What is” questions to see if we can embarrass them.  This issue is graced by the elegant style and intellectual ramblings of Dr. Ambato Ambilobe of Antananarivo University, whose work in Madagascar has attracted the notice of several people. Pay attention now, kids, and take that gum out of your mouths.
Professor Ambato Ambilobe
Nosy-Varinda Nature Reserve
and Antananarivo University

        The aye-aye-aye, Macropithecus comoroiensis, is not and never has been related to the aye-aye, and should not be confused with Daubentonia, either madagascariensis or robustus (extinct).  The two sympatric species are united in only a few minor and superficial similarities almost too unimportant to mention, otherwise they are completely different.
        Like the aye-aye, the aye-aye-aye is nocturnal, sharing its range and often its nest with other large-eyed creatures of the night, such as the aye-aye.  The range of the aye-aye-aye is approximately 2.80 hectares, in marked contrast to 2.81 for the aye-aye. Coincidentally, the nest of the aye-aye-aye closely resembles that of the aye-aye in that it is large and round, and always contains exactly eighty-three twigs, whereas that of the aye-aye is invariably constructed

(Cont. on page 4)   
    By Eric Scotmeister Fleiglehaus
Greetings from Kualakurun!  You probably don't even know where Kualakurun is, but that doesn't matter since I do, and I'm here.  So sit back in your favorite chair, kick off your shoes, grab a Guinness and enjoy, because this is my.....“Report from the Field.”
I arrived here on Thursday at the Kualakurun Primate Reserve deep in the throbbing heart of the dense and mangrove-choked swamp forests of the myseriously-shaped Southeast Asian island of Borneo, and I've been hard at work writing my “Report from the Field” ever since.  It took me longer than I expected to get here because my car was accidentally dropped overboard while it was being offloaded from the ship in Balikpapan, and by the time it was raised from the shallow waters of the bay, the engine was in pretty bad shape.  Then someone ran a red light and hit me, proving once again that nothing in life is easy!
         When I finally got to Kualakurun, the tall and lanky Dutchman Piet Mons Apeldoorn was waiting for me on his shaded verandah sipping a cool oilberry beer, Borneo's national drink, and he whistled for some of his assistants to help me get my suitcases into the guest cottage, after which he promised to tell me about his new discoveries concerning the tarsiid species T. reclusia, previously thought to be extinct. But I had caught him at a rather bad time and he had to catch up on some back issues of the Borneo Bulletin, so I politely excused myself and slipped quietly off to bed.
        Friday and Saturday were Bornean national holidays, so all the assistants went home to their native villages and camp actiivities were suspended.  I managed to drag a confortable lounge chair out under a rattan nut tree and while swatting at mosquitos worked busily on my “Report.”  I could hear great horned gibbons screaming in the distance while nearer at hand a large, reddish, ofttimes surly and obsiguous orangutan broke trees.  On Sunday I napped all day in the hot Bornean sunlight while Piet worked on my car.  The assistants returned just in time for the obligatory farewell party, during which we ate a delicious boiled fish and monitor lizard stew.  Piet thanked me for coming, the assistants sang traditional Bornean dirges, and I read excerpts from some of my articles.  After a ritual exchange of gifts, I was able to get my car started and was off to file my “Report.”
        That's about it for this issue.  Kualakurun isn't such a mystery anymore, is it?  Anyway, next time I'll adjust my brakes and clean my windshield, and try to make it all the way to the Chudleigh-Lilydale Royal Tasmanian Primatological Observatory to interview Drs. Mawbanna Waddamana and Basil Smith.  So until then, I'll just say “So long.“
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