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Longevity in gibbons (Hylobatidae)


Geissmann, T; Geschke, K; Blanchard, B J (2009). Longevity in gibbons (Hylobatidae). Gibbon Journal, (5):81-92.

Abstract

A longevity record of 60 years spent in captivity by a Mueller’s gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) is reported here. This appears to be the second-highest age so far reported for a non-human primate, but it is especially remarkable when adjusted for body size. It is well known that longevity in mammals correlates with body weight. Small apes should, therefore, be expected to exhibit lower longevity than the great apes because of their lower body weight. However, the longevity record for Hylobates reverses this expectation for great apes like orangutans (Pongo) and gorillas (Gorilla). This study further found a significant correlation between the captive population size of primate genera and their recorded longevity. A comparison of longevity and captive population size suggests that recorded longevity in the gibbon genera Hoolock, Nomascus and Symphalangus is lower than that of the genus Hylobates because Hylobates is kept in captivity in much higher numbers. As a result, data on Hylobates longevity are obtained from larger sample sizes than that of all other gibbons. This suggests that all gibbon genera may eventually be revealed to exhibit an elevated longevity in relation to their body weight when larger amounts of data become available. Longevity data for great apes, in contrast, are based on larger samples than those for most genera of the small apes, and an increase in sample size for great ape genera may less likely produce a substantial increase in the longevity record.

Abstract

A longevity record of 60 years spent in captivity by a Mueller’s gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) is reported here. This appears to be the second-highest age so far reported for a non-human primate, but it is especially remarkable when adjusted for body size. It is well known that longevity in mammals correlates with body weight. Small apes should, therefore, be expected to exhibit lower longevity than the great apes because of their lower body weight. However, the longevity record for Hylobates reverses this expectation for great apes like orangutans (Pongo) and gorillas (Gorilla). This study further found a significant correlation between the captive population size of primate genera and their recorded longevity. A comparison of longevity and captive population size suggests that recorded longevity in the gibbon genera Hoolock, Nomascus and Symphalangus is lower than that of the genus Hylobates because Hylobates is kept in captivity in much higher numbers. As a result, data on Hylobates longevity are obtained from larger sample sizes than that of all other gibbons. This suggests that all gibbon genera may eventually be revealed to exhibit an elevated longevity in relation to their body weight when larger amounts of data become available. Longevity data for great apes, in contrast, are based on larger samples than those for most genera of the small apes, and an increase in sample size for great ape genera may less likely produce a substantial increase in the longevity record.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:11 Aug 2009 14:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:19
Publisher:Gibbon Conservation Alliance
ISSN:1661-707X
Official URL:http://www.gibbonconservation.org
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/20113/ (Organisation)
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/20114/
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/20054/

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