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Primate Factsheets
Glossary

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Z]

-- A --

Acid rain
precipitation with a high concentration of acids from pollutants (such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide) that are emitted during the burning of fossil fuels in industry or vehicles; acid rain has a destructive effect on plant and animal life and buildings

Affiliation
Also: affiliative
a form of social behavior involving an individual animal's tendency to approach, interact with, and remain near another individual in the social group

Affinitive
characterized by a natural liking for or attraction to

Africa's Great Lakes
situated in East Africa in the Great Rift Valley at the borders of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya and stretching into Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, these are the largest lakes in Africa and include Lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, Albert, Turkana, and Nyasa

Age-graded group
an intermediate primate group type between single-and multi-male, in which there are fewer males per female than in true multi-male groups, and a linear dominance hierarchy operates among males that corresponds to age (Parnell 2002)

Agonistic
Also: agonistically, agonism
pertaining to a range of fighting or competitive behaviors between members of the same species, including attack, threat, appeasement/conciliation, or retreat/flight; regarding aggressive encounters including offensive attacks as well as defensive fighting

Agouti
coat color in which each hair has alternating light and dark bands

Agribusiness
farming and the businesses associated with farming, such as the processing of farm products, the manufacturing of farm equipment, etc.

Allele
a particular form of a gene distinguishable from other forms of the same gene

Alloparent
Also: alloparenting, alloparental, alloparental care, allomother, allomothering
any individual other than the parent that assists in the care of dependent young, the individual may or may not be genetically related to the young

Alpha status
the most important or most dominant individual in a group to which all others are submissive, the second most dominant is often labeled

Altruism
Also: altruistic behavior
non-beneficial or disadvantageous behavior to an individual that serves to benefit others of a species

Amenorrhea
absence or suppression of menstruation (ovulation)

Anestrous
a female that is not sexually receptive or experiencing an estrus cycle

Anogenital
area around the anus and genitals

Anovulatory
the state of not ovulating

Anthropoid
a member of the suborder Anthropoidea which includes monkeys and apes, including humans

Arboreal
adapted to life in the trees

Arthropod
a member of the phylum Arthropoda; an invertebrate with a segmented body and jointed appendages (includes insects, arachnids, crustaceans).

Aunting
a behavior in which a female other than an infant's mother assists the parent in infant care; aunts may carry or defend the infant

Austral
of the southern hemisphere

-- B --

Bamboo node
the locations on a stalk of bamboo where the hollow segments meet

Behavioral plasticity
an organism's ability to vary its behavior in response to environmental changes

Biodiversity
the number and variety of organisms living within a specified geographic area

Biome
a major regional biological community characterized by its distinctive plant and animal species and climate

Bipedalism
Also: bipedally, bipedal
walking upright on two feet instead of on four limbs

Brachial glands
glands located on the arms

Brachiation
Also: brachiating, brachiate
swinging with arms, hand over hand, between from one branch or tree to the next

Bromeliads
members of the tropical plant family Bromeliaceae which includes the pineapple

Bryophyte
a type of nonflowering plant that includes mosses and liverworts

Buccal
of, relating to, or near the cheek

Bushmeat
any wild animal hunted for food, medicine, or traditional cultural uses

-- C --

Callitrichines
Also: Callitrichids
members of the New World monkey subfamily Callitrichinae which includes marmosets and tamarins

Cantilever
Also: cantilevering
to spring out from a branch to catch prey with the hands while the hind legs hold on to the branch

Carotenids
any of several of red and yellow pigments related to carotene, a compound found in carrots and certain other vegetables

Catarrhine
a member of the primate infraorder Catarrhini comprised of 4 families including the monkeys of Africa, great apes, gibbons, and humans

Cathemeral
active periodically and sporadically throughout both the day and night, as in some lemur species

Census
Also: censusing
the systematic count of a population

Cercopithecines
members of the Old World monkey family Cercopithecinae including langurs, baboons, guenons, and macaques

Chaco of Argentina
Also: Argentinean Chaco
part of the one million km2 (386,102 mi2) Gran Chaco which spans the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay; this portion found in Argentina is composed of grasslands, savannas, gallery and dry forests where the climate and rainfall are subject to extreme seasonal fluctuations

CITES
AKA The Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species, an international agreement between governments that has the goal of ensuring that the international trade of plant and animal species does not threaten their survival; there are three levels of classification (called Indexes I-III) and regulations associated with those classifications dictate in what quantities plants and animals can be traded (if at all) and rules governing the import and export of these species

Cladistics
the systematic classification of organisms into groups based on ancestral characteristics and relationships

Clinal
relating to a gradient of change

Codominance
Also: codominant
relationship in which two or more animals are equally positioned in the social dominance hierarchy and have equal priority, access, and superiority in regards to feeding, sexual, and locomotion behavior

Colitis
inflammation of the large intestine that has clinical signs including diarrhea and abdominal pain

Consortship
a close relationship of a male and female during her estrus that involves their moving and feeding together, much sexual activity, and frequent mutual grooming

Conspecific
belonging to the same species

Contact call
vocalization that provides information on the whereabouts of other group members

Contest competition
competition for a resource in which the winner physically deters another organism from obtaining part or all of a fought-over resource

Cooperative breeding system
Also: cooperative breeders, cooperative rearing, cooperative infant care, cooperative parenting
a social system in which a subset of adults breed while individuals in addition to the breeders participate in the care of young

Copulation
Also: copulatory, copulate
sexual intercourse

Corm
a short, underground stem or bulb, from which flowers and foliage is produced

Craniometric analysis
the scientific measurement of skulls and comparison to other skulls from the same or different species

Crepuscular
active during twilight hours (dusk and dawn)

Crop-raiding
Also: raid crops, crop-raider, crop-raid
the act of entering into a cultivated area and stripping the plants of edible parts, often causing damage to the entire crop and ruining the plants in addition to stealing the fruits or vegetables, the most economically valuable part of the crop; this behavior is seen in a number of primates living in close proximity to humans

Crypticity
Also: crypsis
the ability of an organism to conceal itself in its environment

Cutaneous
pertaining to the skin

Cytogenetic
relating to the study of the mechanisms and behavior of chromosomes

-- D --

Deciduous dentition
the first set of teeth (baby teeth) that are replaced by permanent, adult teeth

Deciduous forest
a forest made of trees that shed leaves habitually on a cyclic basis

Deleterious allele fixation
the complete prevalence of an unfavorable genetic form in a population at the exclusion of all other forms, with this loss of genetic variation causing the potential for impaired survivorship and reduced fitness in the population

Desertification
degradation of land seen when moist, tropical areas are clear-cut and soil is exposed to direct sunlight; under these conditions, soil loses nutrient value and erodes because there is no cycling of dead leaves/plant material or roots to hold on to the soil; rainfall causes soil to wash away and eventually leads to infertility of land

Digitigrade
with the digits of the foot, but not the sole, in contact with the ground or support

Diploid chromosomes
two complementary copies (homologs) of each chromosome, with one chromosome being derived from the mother and the other from the father

Dipterocarp
trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae that are prevalent in Asian tropical rainforests and which are extremely economically valuable timber resources

Direct fitness
a measure of the number of genes passed on to the next generation relative to other genetic contributions; individuals maximize their fitness by having as many offspring as possible that live to reproduce (and contribute their genes to the next generation)

Dispersal
Also: disperse
the emigration of an animal from its birthplace or birth group

Diurnal
active during daylight hours

Dominance hierarchy
a social order of dominance sustained by aggressive or other behavior patterns

Dorsal
Also: dorsally
of, on, or near the back of the body

Drupe
a fruit with a hard, bony pit or stone and a soft outer skin and flesh (such as peaches)

-- E --

Ebola
a contagious virus first seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is transmitted by body fluids that causes the linings of bodily organs and vessels to leak blood and fluids, resulting in death

Ecotourism
Also: ecotourist
a form of tourism to undisturbed areas high in natural beauty or biodiversity that strives to minimize ecological impact or damage

Ectoparasite
Also: ectoparasitic
a parasite that lives on the outside of its host, such as on its skin or hair

Edge habitat
Also: edge forest
the zone of regeneration created when trees and growth are cleared in a forest, either for human use such as agricultural planting or building of structures or naturally because of disasters such as floods or fires; the plant and animal species that repopulate the perimeter of the cleared area are usually generalists that can thrive in a variety of situations and that outcompete and replace other species because of their ability to exploit the highly disturbed area

Egalitarian
a social relationship in which neither member of a social pair consistently wins when the two have social conflicts

Endemism
Also: endemic
found in and restricted to a particular geographical area; natural or characteristic of a particular place

Endocrine system
Also: endocrinological
a system of glands in the body that secrete chemicals called hormones which regulate an animal's bodily activities, behavior, and other biological features

Endoparasite
Also: endoparasitic
a parasite that lives within its host, such as in its blood or digestive tract

Epiphytes
a plant growing on another plant for support or anchorage rather than for water supply or nutrients

Epstein-Barr virus
a herpesvirus that causes infectious diseases and may cause various forms of cancer

Estrous female
a female going through a hormone-regulated, cyclical period of sexual receptivity and fertility which includes sexual activity, ovulation, and changes in the genitalia

Estrus
the period of maximum sexual receptivity in female mammals, usually also the time of release of the eggs

Ex situ
outside of the original, natural, or existing place, position, or habitat (often referring to a zoo)

Extirpation
Also: extirpate
to totally destroy or get rid of

Exudate
material that oozes out of a plant including gum, sap, resin, and latex

Exudativore
Also: exudativory, exudativorous
an animal which consumes tree gum, sap, or resin as a major percentage of its diet

-- F --

Facultative
contingent upon certain conditions; assuming a particular role or mode of life but not restricted to that role under all environmental conditions

Fauni-frugivore
animal that eats both animal and plant products

Fecundity
the potential reproductive capacity of an organism; reproductive fertility

Felid
any member of the family Felidae including small to large cats such as cheetah, cougar, ocelot, lynx, bobcat, lion, tiger, leopard, and jaguar; these animals are mostly carnivorous and live in trees and on the ground

Female philopatry
a social system in which females remain in the groups or home ranges in which they were born while males leave at sexual maturity; this means that a group of females is related it some way - sisters, mothers, aunts, or cousins and these females attract unrelated males

Fission-fusion social group
a social grouping pattern in which individuals form temporary small parties (also called subgroups) whose members belong to a larger community (or unit-group) of stable membership; there can be fluid movement between subgroups and unit-groups such that group composition and size changes frequently

Fitness
a measure of the number of genes passed on to the next generation relative to other genetic contributions; individuals maximize their fitness by having as many offspring as possible that live to reproduce (and contribute their genes to the next generation)

Flagship species
a popular, charismatic species that serves as a symbol and rallying point to stimulate conservation awareness and action

Folivore
Also: folivory, folivorous
animal that eats primarily leaves

Foraging
Also: forage
to search for food

Foramen magnum
the opening at the base of the skull where the spinal cord attaches to the lowest part of the brain

Fragmentation
Also: habitat fragmentation, forest fragmentation
the process of breaking up blocks of forest into smaller areas by cutting roads, creating human settlements, or otherwise destroying a large enough tract of forest to permanently separate it from a once contiguous area

Frugivore
Also: frugivory, frugivorous
animal that specializes in eating fruits

-- G --

G-G Rubbing
two female bonobos rubbing their genitals together

Gallery forest
forest found along streams and rivers

Gastrointestinal
pertaining to the digestive system

Gene flow
the natural transfer of genes from one population into the genetic makeup of another population through interbreeding and migration

Genetic diversity
variation at the level of individual genes which provides a mechanism for organisms and populations to adapt to an ever-changing environment

Genetic drift
alteration in gene frequencies that usually occurs in a small population and results from chance processes alone, not from natural selection, mutations, or immigration

Genetic variability
the measure of variation in genetic makeup between individuals in a population; high levels of genetic variability are better than low levels within a population

Geophagy
the eating of earth, often to attain necessary mineral nutrients

Gestation
the time from fertilization to birth in mammals

Graminivorous
feeding on grass or the seeds of grass

Guerrilla fighters
soldiers of an irregular, usually volunteer armed force that fight using sabotage and harassment

-- H --

Habituated group
Also: habituate
a group of animals that is accustomed to being watched and followed by researchers and that tolerates the presence of humans; this often takes long periods of time (from months to years) to achieve with primates

Herbaceous
a soft and green plant without woody tissues above ground

Hybridization
Also: hybridize, hybrid
a crossing of individuals of different genetic composition that typically belong to different species

Hydroelectric power
Also: hydroelectricity
electricity that is usually generated at dams or coasts by water power produced by water falling, flowing downhill, or moving tidally or from the friction of water or steam

Hyoid
a U-shaped bone between the base of the tongue and the larynx

-- I --

Igapó
a type of Amazonian flooded forest that occurs along black- and white-water rivers. This type of forest has lower nutrient soil, lower biomass and lower diversity than other flooded forests in the region.

In situ
in its original or natural place, as in an animal in its natural habitat

Inbreeding depression
a reduction in overall health and vigor of individuals in a population as a result of breeding with close relatives over multiple generations

Inclusive fitness
the fitness individuals derive from increasing the survival of their relatives' offspring; the young of their relatives share some percentage of their genes and by helping them to survive they are increasing the opportunity for those genes to continue to be passed on

Indirect fitness
the component of fitness gained through aiding the survival and reproduction of nondescendant relatives (such as siblings)

Infanticide
Also: infanticidal
the practice of killing infants or juveniles

Insectivore
Also: insectivorous, insectivory
animal that primarily eats insects

Interbirth interval
the elapsed length of time between births, it is usually longer for larger species and shorter for smaller primates

Intraspecific
Also: intraspecies
between individuals or populations of the same species

Ischial callosities
areas of hardened, leathery skin on either side of the base of the tail on the rump

Island forest
an isolated piece of forest in the middle of savannah or agricultural area that is too small to support major components of the rainforest ecology

IUCN
AKA The World Conservation Union, the largest and most important network of people, governments, institutions, and non-governmental organizations working towards conserving the integrity and the diversity of nature around the world through the equitable and sustainable use of natural resources

IUCN Red List
a list of the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties and some subpopulations on a global scale that is compiled by scientists to highlight taxa threatened with extinction and to promote the conservation of these species. It is a widely used reference and is an authoritative compilation of species' status in the format of an online database as well as a published handbook.

-- K --

Karyotype
the shape, size, and number of an individual's or species' somatic (non-sex) chromosomes

Keystone resource
a component of the environment utilized by individuals in the ecological community without which the individuals would not thrive or without which the ecological community structure would be negatively effected

Kin selection
selection for genetically-based behavior pattern that lowers an individual's own reproduction but raises a relative's fitness; a genetic explanation for selfless behavior among animals

Kinship
family relationship

Knuckle walking
walking on four limbs by partially supporting body weight on the middle phlanges (bones in finger); this form of locomotion is only seen in the African great apes, orangutans walk with their fists and monkeys walk on their palms

Kopje
outcroppings of steep rocky slopes and large boulders with sparse vegetation that characterize some sub-Saharan grasslands

-- L --

Lactation
Also: lactating, lactate
the production of milk from the mammary glands

Lactational amenorrhea
absence or suppression of menstruation (ovulation) during nursing

Latrine behavior
preferential, repeated use of specific sites for defecation

Lepidopterans
the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths

Lesser ape
member of the genus Hylobatidae or Syndactylus; gibbons or siamangs

Lexigram
a compilation of symbols that represent words which is employed in ape-language research projects; when the study subject points to or touches a symbol it is intended to be the equivalent of speaking a word

Lianas
climbing plants in tropical forests

Linear dominance hierarchy
a social order of dominance sustained by aggressive or other behavior patterns in which the most dominant animal (called the alpha) dominates over all of the group and the second most dominant animal (called the beta) dominates over all of the group but the alpha while the third most dominant animal (called the gamma) dominates over all of the group but the beta and alpha, etc.

Littoral
growing on or near a shore, of a lake, sea or ocean

Lowland forest
forest below 1 kilometer (3281 ft) in altitude which often displays the largest amount of biodiversity

-- M --

Malagasy
of or originating from Madagascar

Male philopatry
a social system in which males remain in the groups or home ranges in which they were born while females leave at sexual maturity; this means that a group of males is related it some way - brothers, fathers, uncles, or cousins and these males attract unrelated females

Mammary glands
the milk secreting glands in female mammals

Mangrove
a tidal salt-marsh forest in the tropics dominated by trees and shrubs that have roots which are exposed at low tide and which is inundated with salt water at high tide

Mast fruiting
a phenomenon in which large numbers of trees fruit simultaneously despite no seasonal change in temperature or rainfall; this does not occur every year but at intervals of two to 10 years

Mate guarding
an individual remaining near its mate to prevent others from copulating with the mate

Matriline
Also: matrilineal
derivation of lineage through the mother instead of the father; social group revolving around female kinship

Menarche
the first ovulatory cycle

Menses
the period of time that menstrual bleeding lasts

Mental map
an animal's internal representation of the layout of an area in its environment; sense of geography and the elements within the surrounding environment such as food and water sources

Meteorology
Also: meteorological
the study of weather

Microhabitat
a small, narrowly defined, and specialized habitat occupied by a species

Mixed-sex dyad
an interrelationship of two individual animals in which one is a male and the other is a female

Monoculture
cultivation of a single crop or product on a farm or in a region or country without using the land for other purposes

Monogamous social group
Also: monogamy
a social group revolving around a mating system in which one male and one female mate more or less exclusively over time; the group members include the breeding pair and their offspring

Monotypic
Also: monotype; monotypical
A taxonomic group with only one subgroup at the next taxonomic level; a family with a single genus or a genus with a single species

Monsoon
a period of heavy rainfall, especially during the summer over South and Southeast Asia

Montane
growing or living in mountainous regions

Morphology
Also: morphological
the form and structure of an organism, with special emphasis on external features

Mottled
spotted or blotched with different colors

Multi-cropping
utilizing farmland for more than one species of plant at a time, which reduces the chances of total crop failure due to insects and other parasites

Multi-generational
social group composed of individuals of widely varying ages

Multi-male/multi-female
a social group comprised of multiple sexually mature males and multiple sexually mature females and young of all ages

Multiparous
pertaining to a female mammal having more than one brood of young, with each brood containing one or more offspring

Mustelid
any member of the family Mustelidae including weasels, otters, badgers, and mink. They are small terrestrial, arboreal or semiquatic carnivorous mammals.

-- N --

Natal
related to birth

Natal coat
the coloration of an infant's fur when it is born which differs from the adult appearance; this coloration changes as the infant ages until it looks like the adults of its species

Natal groups
Also: natal territories, natal communities
the social group into which an individual is born

Nematode
member of the class Nematoda which includes 12,000 species of worm-like organisms that are unsegmented and which have a round body and are pointed at both ends

Neonatal
Also: neonate
pertaining to a newborn infant

Neotropics
the new world biogeographic region including southern Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies

New World monkeys
monkeys living in South America

Non-natal
not having been born to one or both of the breeding individuals within a group; an immigrant from a neighboring group

Nonprehensile tail
a tail that is not capable of grasping objects

Noyau
Also: noyau social system
a social structure in which a male's territory overlaps the smaller territories of several females

Nulliparous
pertaining to a female that has not had offspring

-- O --

Old World monkeys
monkeys living in Asia or Africa

Olfactory
relating to smell

Omnivore
Also: omnivorous, omnivory
animal that consumes all kinds of food, particularly both animals and plants

Opportunistic
Also: opportunistically
referring to an organism with the ability to exploit newly available habitats or resources

Opposable thumb
a thumb which can be turned so that the fingertip can make contact with the fingertip of each of the other digits on the same hand; allows for thumb to come together with other fingers in a grasping action

Orthopterans
members of the family Orthoptera which are insects with biting mouth parts, large back legs for jumping, and hardened wings; some examples include grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, and cockroaches

Ovarian cycle
the normal cycle of reproductive function and development in the female ovary, which includes development of an ovarian follicle (cell aggregation which contains the egg), rupture of the follicle, discharge of the egg, and formation and regression of a corpus luteum (yellow tissue formed in the ovary after the release of the egg)

Overmarking
scent-marking over the scent-mark of others of the same species

Ovulation
in mammals, the formation and discharge of a mature egg from the ovary

-- P --

Paramilitary
relating to a group of civilians organized to function like a military organization to act in place of or to assist regular military troops

Parapatric
Also: parapatrically
having contiguous geographic ranges but little or no interbreeding or overlap in the zone of contact

Parasite
Also: parasitic
a plant or animal that lives on and is dependent on another organism in a way that harms the other organism

Parturition
giving birth

Pastoralism
the practice of herding livestock

Paternity certainty
an important factor in social systems requiring paternal care for the survival of offspring in which the male is reasonably assured that the young which he is caring for are actually his offspring

Pathogen
Also: pathogenic
something that can cause disease such as a virus or bacteria

Patriline
Also: patrilineal
derivation of lineage through the father instead of the mother; social group revolving around male kinship

Pelage
the hair, fur, wool, or other soft covering of a mammal

Petiole
the stalk that attaches a leaf to the stem

Phasmida
Also: phasmids
an order of insects that closely resembles surrounding plants (includes leaf insects and walking sticks)

Phenotype
Also: phenotypic
the sum total of observable structural and functional properties of an organism

Pheromone
Also: pheromonal
a chemical substance secreted by an animal which influences the behavior of other animals of the same species

Philopatry
Also: philopatric
the tendency of an individual to return to or stay in its home range

Photoperiod
the duration of an organism's daily exposure to daylight, with seasonal changes affecting certain organisms in particular ways

Phylogeny
Also: phylogenic
evolutionary relationship within and between groups

Physiology
Also: physiological, physiologically
the study of organisms and their individual organs, tissues, and cells

Piedmont
an area at the base of mountains

Piloerection
Also: piloerect
a mammal's erecting its fur or hair in reaction to a stimulus

Polyandry
Also: polyandrous
a mating system in which one female copulates with multiple males

Polygamous social group
Also: polygamy
a social group revolving around a mating system in which both males and females may have more than one mate

Polygynandrous
a mating system where two or more males mate with two or more females and vice versa

Polygynous social group
Also: polygyny
a social group revolving around a mating system in which one male mates with multiple females

Postpartum estrous
first period of fertility after giving birth

Prehensile tail
a specialized tail that is able to grasp and hold an object by wrapping around it

Primary forest
a relatively intact natural forest which has not been disturbed or modified by human activity in several hundred years and is characterized by an abundance of mature trees

Prosimian
a member of the Prosimii suborder of primates which includes lorises, bush babies, lemurs, and tarsiers

Protocol
a set of rules

Pygal
located on the rump or near the end of the backbone

-- Q --

Quadrupedalism
Also: quadrupedal, quadrupedally
walking on all four limbs

-- R --

Rank acquisition
process of securing a position in the linear dominance hierarchy of a social group

Rapacious
subsisting by the capture of living prey

Raptor
a bird of prey; a bird such as a hawk, falcon, or vulture that feeds primarily on meat

Recruitment
the influx of new organism members into a population due to reproduction or immigration

Riparian
pertaining to or situated on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as rivers)

Riverine
located on or near the banks of a river

Rods and cones
cells in the eye that perceive light and color; rods respond better at low light levels, function predominantly at night, and recognize shades of gray, while cones respond to much higher light intensities and are capable of color vision and high spatial acuity

-- S --

Sagittal crest
prominent point on top of the head where two skull bones meet

Savanna
tropical and subtropical grasslands characterized by drought-resistant vegetation dominated by grasses with scattered tall trees

Scent-marking
the deposition of scented chemicals (often urine or pheromones) as a form of communication between others of the same species

Scramble competition polygyny
polygyny in which males make no effort to defend individual exclusive mating territories, but instead attempt to outrace their competitors to receptive females

Secondary (remnant) forest
forest that is regenerating largely through natural processes from disturbance caused either naturally (fire or hurricane) or through human intervention (logging or clearing) and displays a major difference in forest structure and/or canopy species composition from primary forest

Secondary sexual characteristics
those physical characteristics that differentiate male and female individuals that are not directly related to reproduction and usually appear at sexual maturity; these include hair growth and coloration as well as body size and muscle development

Selective felling
Also: selective logging
a system of forestry in which lumber or forest products are removed one at a time rather than as part of a clear-cut; when done correctly selective logging can significantly decrease the detrimental effects of logging in forests, but when done incorrectly or by only removing the largest and most economically valuable trees can cause serious habitat destruction

Semantic communication
the systematic use of signals to refer to objects in the external world; using different signals to represent distinct objects in the environment

Semideciduous forest
forest in which some but not all tree species lose their leaves during one season of the year

Sex skin
the tissue surrounding the tail and genitals of female primates that swells with changes in hormones associated with estrus

Sexual dichromatism
Also: sexual dichromism, sexually dichromatic
males and females of the same species having different fur colorations and/or marking patterns

Sexual dimorphism
Also: sexually dimorphic
males and females of the same species having different external characteristics and features

Sexual selection theory
individuals are able to attract more mates by being more attractive to individuals of the opposite sex; this attractiveness is based on physical characteristics that may be also linked to social dominance or overall health

Shade growing
a more environmentally friendly type of farming which avoids clearing areas of trees for farming and instead grows crops under the canopy of trees, thereby maintaining a wildlife habitat for many arboreal species

Shifting cultivation
Also: shifting agriculture
a farming system in which land is cleared and crops are grown until the area's fertility is exhausted, with the land then being abandoned to allow for recovery of fertility

Singleton
a single thing, such as an offspring born alone

Sneak mating
Also: sneak copulation
copulation by a male with a female in another male's territory or group

Sociobiology
the study of the biological basis of social behavior

Sperm plug
a plug that a male leaves in a female's vagina after mating as a tactic in reproductive competition

Steppe
a vast treeless plain

Stereotyped
instinctive action, movement, posture, or behavior that does not need to be practiced or learned before it can be done correctly

Stochastic
occurring in a random pattern

Subalpine
of, relating to, or inhabiting high upland slopes and especially the zone just below the tree line

Subfossil
bone where fossilization is not complete and at least part of the organic component remains

Submontane
growing or living in the foothills or lower elevation slopes of a mountainous region

Succulent plants
a plant with high water content in the stems or leaves such as cacti

Supplantation
replacement by reason of demonstrated superiority

Suspensory
by hanging or suspending from an object

Swidden agriculture
the process of growing crops that begins with land being cleared and burned before being planted; slash-and-burn agriculture

Sympatry
Also: sympatric
occupying geographical ranges that at least partially overlap without interbreeding

-- T --

Tannin
a brownish or yellowish acidic compound found in plants that can be used as dye

Taxonomy
Also: taxonomic
describing, naming, and grouping organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms

Teratology
Also: teratogenic
causing a disruption in normal development and leading to visible malformation of an organism

Terra firma
dry land; lowland forest that is not flooded seasonally

Terrestrial
adapted to life on the ground

Thermoregulation
the maintenance of a particular body temperature regardless of changes in the environment

Toilet claw
a claw found on the second toe that functions in grooming

Topography
the features on the surface of a particular area of land such as mountains, valleys, or rivers

Torpor
a period of sluggish inactivity, suspended physical activity, or dormancy, as of a hibernating animal

Totem-tree marking
the repeated preferential scent-marking of particular trees

Tuber
an swollen part of a root or stem that stores food for the plant but which can be dug up and eaten; potatoes are tubers

Tumescence
a swelling or distended area

Twinning
producing two offspring at the same birthing event

Type locality
the place where the specimen that is used to designate a species was found or collected

-- U --

Understory
the lowest forest level which covers the area between the ground and 10 meters (33 feet)

Ungulate
a quadrupedal, hoofed mammal

-- V --

Várzea
a type of Amazonian flooded forest drained by white-water rivers. Flooding occurs up to six months of the year, depositing new sediments and renewing the soil.

Velopharyngeal
on the area of neck directly below the jaw

Ventral
Also: ventrally
on the belly or side of the body where the belly is located

Vestigial
a small, functionless structure that was once well-developed in an organism's ancestors but which has been reduced during the course of evolution

Viverrids
a family of carnivorous mammals which are smaller than a domestic cat and weasel-like in appearance

Vomeronasal system
the "second nose" of many monkey species that allows them to detect and process chemical signals by using a specialized organ in the nasal cavity; chemical signals emitted by scent glands reveal information about an animal such as sex, maturity, and social status

-- W --

Wean
process of switching a young mammal from mother's milk to other food

-- X --

Xerophytic forest
a dry habitat adapted to tolerate long periods of drought

-- Z --

Zoonotic disease
a disease that can be transmitted to people by vertebrate animals

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