Monkey Forest Tales: What I should study to be a primatologist?

Spending time in the field with kids usually lead you to some interesting questions along the way. One of those came from a small girl who was interested to know what you study to dedicate your life to study monkeys? Well the answer is it depends.
Monkey studies came from different areas of knowledge from psychology to anthropology to biology to ecology to behavior and veterinary. So, people studying monkeys sometimes came from different disciplines and depending on the discipline the tools they use to study monkeys are different.
Most of the initial schools who started the primatology in the 40’s came from psychology and anthropology school, and some also were from medical school. The beginning on monkeys studies came from peoples questions about how human society started and how early humans use to live.
More recently, most people working with primates in general (monkeys, lemurs and apes) study biology, veterinary or anthropology, some also study psychology or medicine. Then they choose the field and type of questions they want to answer.
In my case I study biology, make a master with emphasis in ecology and then, and mostly because of the zocay project context, made a doctorate in landscape ecology. When zocay project was started, most of my experience was the study of monkeys behavior in very large forest. But as zocay project is in a fragmented area surrounded by productive activities, my interest shifted to understand the bigger picture, which means how the monkeys adapt and manage the effects of fragmentation and human activities near their habitats.
Monkeys studies can be done in the forest, in laboratories and in zoos. You can study their behavior (how they interact between them and with other species), their ecology (how they relate with their environment), their genetics (how different they are and who is the father of each baby) and their health (how to improve their health and how to manage their diseases).
So, if you want study monkeys you can choose one of different careers. But the more important part is that you have the passion, perseverance and patience to study them. Studying monkeys is a challenging but rewarding career that can take you to explore amazing places and discovering exciting moments surrounded by some of the most amazing creatures that live in this planet.
© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.

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