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Aspects of the behavior of the sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi grandidier 1867).

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Film Reviews
Aspects of the Behavior of the Sifaka
(Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi Grandidier 1867)
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work,
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613
By Thomas T. Struhsaker (New York Zoological Society and the Rockefeller University) and Alison Richard (Unit of Primate Biology, Queen Elizabeth College,
London University). Distributed by Rockefeller University Film Service, Box
72, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021. 16 mm, BiW, sound, 12 minutes.
Rental: $15. Sale: $60.
Situated off the southwest coast of Africa,
t h e island of Madagascar of t h e Malagasy Republic is one of the most distinctive ecological
settings extant. The flora a n d fauna a r e so
unusual t h a t many species exist no where
else on e a r t h . Among these a r e t h e family
Lemuridae, the lemurs, believed by many researchers to be the closest prosimian relatives
of humankind; the family Daubentoniidae,
t h e unusual little aye-aye, a n d t h e family
lndridae, the sifakas.
The film, based on a seven month study by
t h e junior author, attempts to depict the general behavior of the sifaka, Propithecus uerreauxi uerreauxi. Group sizes, rank direction
of grooming, and daily travel patterns are discussed under various t i t l e s flashed on t h e
screen at intervals. There a r e good views of
magnificent leaps of up to ten meters by these
i n t e r e s t i n g p r i m a t e s . T h e y a r e observed
marking areas of trees with feces, urine, or
rubbing with t h e perineal area. In addition,
males have throat glands which are also used
to mark. Marking bouts apparently occur be-
0002-948318015204-0601500.80 0 1980 ALAN R. LISS, INC.
tween groups, and several times males overmarked t h e females.
Interesting vocalizations are heard several
times, but the narration gave little information about their function. The overall technical q u a l i t y of t h e film, e.g., c a m e r a work,
sound recording, t h e absence of continuity,
and the very abrupt ending, is below average
to poor. However, this should be forgiven due
to the subject matter: An interesting primate
with a short time t o exist, a highly endangered relict species which still holds valuable information for all researchers.
It may be argued that with a little more effort, this could have been a n excellent film at
t h e technical leve1,but not all filmmaking researchers a r e attempting to create a beautifully developed teaching tool. At times, posterity may be the only important issue, i.e., a
research o r archival film, which t h i s more
closely approximates.
Received a n d a c c r p tr d September 15. 1979
60 1
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behavior, verreauxi, sifaka, aspects, propithecus, 1867, grandidier
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