Primates

Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella)The LRC is the permanent home to several groups of socially-housed capuchin monkeys (total = 30). These animals actively participate in projects designed to evaluate a variety of social behavior including cooperation as well as computerized tasks to assess learning and cognition. Like the other animals at the LRC, the capuchin monkeys have access to indoor and outdoor caging areas and voluntarily participate in noninvasive research projects that are either computer-based or that use physical stimuli and traditional apparatus.  Three social groups of capuchins participate in a wide range of noninvasive studies of cognition and social cognition
Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta) Seven male macaques currently make up the LRC’s rhesus colony, productively working at computerized testing systems on tasks designed to assess learning and cognitive skills such as memory, knowledge of numbers, concepts and reasoning ability. As with the other animals at the LRC, the animals are not deprived of food or fluids or reduced in body weight for purposes of testing. Rather, the animals work on tasks as they choose to receive supplemental treats and for the challenge, control, and enrichment that the experiments provide. Life-long longitudinal studies of these (and the other) animals affords unique opportunities to investigate how cognitive competencies may build on prior experience and training. A resident colony of rhesus monkeys participate in noninvasive cognitive research

Remembering the Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes):  The LRC was the lifetime home to five chimpanzees: Lana, Sherman, Austin, Mercury, and Panzee. Each voluntarily participated daily in a wide range of research activities, interacting with one another and with human caretakers and experimenters. Lana (1970-2016) was part of the first LRC project in 1971, designed to produce an analog of human language in a nonhuman primate. It has been estimated that she has contributed data to more than 200 publications to date. She was a pioneer in language research, in studies of numerical cognition, and in research on many other cognitive topics. Lana, Austin, Sherman and Panzee were reared with exposure to keyboard-based visuographic symbols called “lexigrams” that represented people, places, foods, objects, activities, and other meanings. Lana’s son Mercury (1986-2016), who died just a few weeks before his mother, was raised around language use but was not systematically taught (and did not spontaneously acquire) symbol meanings. He showed great proficiency in a wide range of computerized tasks. Sherman (1973-2018) and Austin (1974-1996) and raised together in a language-rich environment. Principal Investigator Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and collaborators set-up problems that the chimpanzees could only solve through the use of language (e.g., Austin needed a tool to obtain food, Sherman had access to the tools but not the food, and the apes could use the keyboard to communicate with one another). In his later years, Sherman excelled in tests of self control, memory, and other cognitive competencies. Panzee (1985-2014) was reared with a bonobo named Panbanisha by Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh, Dr. Karen Brakke, and collaborators. In many ways, Panzee may have been the most accomplished of all of the LRC chimpanzees, showing unprecedented levels of speech comprehension for the species, as well as impressive performance in memory and other domains.

Each of these chimpanzees died of natural causes after long, happy, productive lives. The field of comparative cognition will forever be changed by their contributions to science. They are each dearly missed by the human companions who loved these apes and who worked with them and cared for them every day. The Language Research Center and Georgia State University are greatly in their debt. It was a privilege to spend every day of their lives trying to promote these animals’ physical and psychological wellbeing, and partnering with them in the pursuit of science.

A memorial grove was planted at the LRC as a living memorial in honor of our departed primate friends, both human (Duane Rumbaugh, Judy Sizemore, Skip Haig, Michael Owren) and and nonhuman.

In memorium: Austin     Panzee     Mercury     Lana     Sherman

Duane Rumbaugh     Judy Sizemore     Skip Haig     Michael Owren

Click here to read the GSU Research Magazine award-winning story, The Lana Legacy, about Duane Rumbaugh and Lana

 Panzee

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