By Jenna Pyle
On a sunny but cool July morning in 2010, anthropologist Michelle Sauther is holding a sleeping lemur in her gloved hands as she examines it for parasites. Her colleague, Frank Cuozzo is peering into another ring-tailed lemur’s mouth as he prepares to make an impression of its teeth with blue dentist’s clay.
Sauther and Cuozzo are co-founders of the Lemur Biology Project in southwestern Madagascar and professors of biological anthropology. Sauther is based at the University of Colorado Boulder and Cuozzo is at the University of North Dakota. Since forest use by humans is a widespread reality in Madagascar, the major goal of the project is to assess how lemurs do in the face of the destruction of their habitat. While Sauther and Cuozzo’s research focuses on evaluating the health of ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, as their graduate student I hope to add to the project’s goals by studying the condition of sifaka, another lemur species at the reserve.