C. Jacchus Observation Exercise #2

Identify an adult and one infant. Young primates are usually described either as “infants” or “juveniles”. These terms are no better defined when applied to primates in general than when applied to humans. Roughly speaking, though, an infant is a young animal that is very dependent on one or both parents for food, protection and warmth–almost certainly still suckling, and in most species of primates being carried, or riding on, a parent for much of the time. You can identify an infant by the lack of white ear tufts. Observe the mother-infant pair for 10 minutes. You will need a sheet of paper and a pen to record the following categories.

  • How much time the infant spends on and off the adult
  • Which animal takes the initiative when the infant leaves the adult (i.e. does the infant leave spontaneously, or is she or he put down or pushed off by the adult?)
  • How the infant behaves when separated from the adult
  • Which animal takes the initiative when the infant rejoins the adult

Once you have finished observing and recording, look back over your findings and try to identify similarities in the relationship between parent and infant marmosets and between human parents and infants.

Text and design by Lissa Pabst.