Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Learning Lemurs
17 December 2014

Learning Lemurs

“Where did I put my keys?”, “What did I come in here for?” As we get older, we all become a bit forgetful, but some people seem to lose important brain skills faster than others. However, studying this kind of decline in people isn't easy because we age over several decades. Instead, scientists are turning to mouse lemurs, small primates that can be bred in captivity and live for up to 15 years. They also show many of the age-related brain changes that are seen in humans, and are quick to learn relatively complex tasks. These pictures are used as part of a touch-screen learning test for lemurs, revealing differences between older and younger lemurs and between individuals of the same age. Like people, a lemur's memory gets worse as it gets older, so these little animals could be a useful model for studying human ageing.

Written by Kat Arney

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