Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My monkey

What does Quigley buy with her birthday money? Why, an addition to her museum, of course...in the form - this time - of a fetal marmoset! I found the little guy (2nd and 3rd images) on the Skulls Unlimited site. Marmosets (1st image) are New World monkeys and are distinguished by their white ear tufts and tiny size. Unlike other monkeys, they have neither prehensile tails nor opposable thumbs. One of the marmoset's favorite foods is tree sap, and they gouge holes in trees with their teeth to get at it, but they also eat the bugs and butterflies that are drawn to the pooled sap. The marmosets spend 19-20 weeks in the womb (4th image), usually 2 at a time. After birth, they are cared for - and carried around by - members of the entire troop of 9 or so until they are 3 months old, when they can get around on their own. In the wild, marmosets spend their 12-year lifespan in the rain forest of Brazil. Though their habitat is shrinking, marmosets are not endangered because they reproduce so rapidly. They are difficult to study in the wild, and are sometimes kept in captivity as research subjects or pets. I understand that live marmosets are stinky and noisy, so I look forward to receiving my new unobtrusive but adorable dead one in the mail any day. I'm going to display him suspended in this bell jar, since he is about the same size (2.2") as the pocket watch it was intended to hold.

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