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Behavior of Wild Gibbons Subject of Study by Asiatic Primate Expedition

Returns to U.S. After Nine Months Absence in Northern Siam and British Borneo


After an absence of nine months in Northern Siam and British North Borneo, the Asiatic Primate Expedition, including members of the staff of the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Peabody Museum at Harvard, as well as specialists from Columbia and Johns Hopkins, has recently returned to the United States with a comprehensive collection of Asiatic primate material.

One member of the expedition spent a month making a survey of wild life in Northern Sumatra with special reference to the orange utan and the National Park established for its preservation by the Netherlands Indian Government.

The expedition has procured a unique documented collection of primate material for further study by the comparative anatomist, the morphologist and the physical anthropologist. The first comprehensive field studies on the behavior of wild gibbons in their natural environment have been made, and these observations have been supplemented by film and sound recordings.

General zoological collections have been procured for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard from the mountain forests of Northern Siam and British North Borneo. Work on the highland and lowland forests of primate collections and the detailed study and correlation of information procured in the field remain to be done.

The primate collections include skins, skeletons, and preserved material, particularly of gibbons, langurs, macaques, and lemurs from Siam and British North Borneo. Each ape, monkey, or lemur that was collected has been carefully measured and weighed before being skinned, dissected, or embalmed.

The expedition's cooperative program for increasing knowledge of the gibbon and other Asiatic primates included also a comprehensive field study of gibbon behavior and social relations. Systematic studies were made on 20 different groups of wild gibbons in their undisturbed natural habitat. Their behavior was recorded in several thousand feet of film, while sound recordings were made of most of the typical gibbon calls. Nine live gibbons were brought back to New York

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