Thursday, 8 October 2015

Remote sensing technology used to map habitat of monkey with hominid-like behavior

Date:October 7, 2015
Source:SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics

Industrial agriculture encroaching on habitat of capuchin monkeys who use stone tools to crack nuts

Biologists and psychologists are fascinated by the bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) of northeastern Brazil, which exhibit behavior that is extremely rare in the animal kingdom: they use stone tools to crack open the hard casings of palm nuts, to eat the meat inside.

Scientists eager to study this behavior -- especially interesting because it resembles the stone tool use of early hominids -- are concerned the monkeys will lose critical habitat as industrial agriculture is rapidly expanding and intensifying in the region. They seek a way to set priorities for their protection.

"Remote sensing and habitat mapping for bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus): landscapes for the use of stone tools" explains how researchers applied remote sensing and geographic information systems to the characterization of capuchin habitat, as an initial step in identifying and protecting their range.

The article by Allison Howard of the University of Maryland Department of Biology and the University of Georgia Center for Geospatial Research and co-authors at both schools and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center appears in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

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