By Mark Bowler
This is a 15 minute practice video suitable for students learning the methods used in the study of animal behaviour.
The monkeys are the 'East Group' at the Living Links to Human Evolution Research Centre in Edinburgh Zoo. There are brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and common squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) living together in a mixed group (more information on the Living Links youtube channel and website living-links.org).
The video is useful for trying out many different sampling techniques on individuals (the alpha male capuchin 'Popeye' is labelled throughout) or on groups. There are a number of different foraging, feeding and social behaviours featured, including a brief bit of courtship from one of our adult females (recognisable in this video because they have babies on their backs).
The boxes were put into the enclosures by the keepers, they contain straw and some of the monkeys preferred foods.
It is recommended that students watch the video first to develop some research questions, and then an ethogram (a list of behaviours) before starting to collect data. Methods for behavioural sampling can be found in:
Altmann J. 1974. Observational study of behavior: sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227-267 [reprinted in Foundations of Animal Behavior, L.D. Houck & L.C. Drickamer, eds. U Chicago Press, 1996].
PDF here: princeton.edu/~baboon/publications/1974Behav49.pdf
Martin, P. & Bateson. P. (2007) Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
focal sampling animal behaviour data collection student resources