top of page

We started this tamarin colony in November of 1998 with 8 monkeys (and 2 births to follow on Dec 24, 1998). We accepted adult couples in which the male had been vasectomized by the former university as a means of animal husbandry and to control for hormone studies. The life expectancy of tamarins is 12–15 years of age, and most of our tamarins met the extreme end of that range before they passed on (with some even reaching 20+ years of age!).

Tamarins were captured in the wild  in the early 1970's  and were bred to increase the incidence of colon cancer among the captive set because they were considered a strong animal model of colon cancer and for developing treatments for colon cancer and other gastrointestinal disorders. While our tamarins have an increased likelihood of colon cancer from this genetic "gain of function", the most common cause of death in tamarins is heart disease and cardiovascular events (i.e., strokes, aneurysms, cardiac events, and respiratory events), like humans. At Carleton, we do not conduct invasive or medical experiments, rather we study their perception, cognition, and social awareness and this contributes to our understanding of the evolution of primate thinking from monkey to human.  These tamarins participated in perceptual and cognitive studies here at Carleton, all on a voluntary basis, and lived in social groups with minimal domestication by human caretakers.

Hover over each monkey for more details!

Yogi, male

6/18/04 - 9/22/21


Yogi was Wizard’s younger brother and he  lived with Oriole. Yogi was sweet but quite mischievous. He liked to steal the door clip while we weren’t looking so he could play with it. Even when we gave him his very own clip, he still wanted the one that we had. He never failed to make us laugh.

Haagen Dasz, female

10/19/99 - 8/2/20


Haagen Dasz (HD for short) was Quaker’s younger sister. She loved cheerios more than any monkey in the colony and would sometimes try to sneak up on you and steal them out of your hands. She has been in memory testing, visual search testing, and category testing several times. 

Vireo, male

4/12/01 - 2/31/20


Vireo was a very sweet monkey who loved jumping and swinging around in his enclosure and hanging out with his cagemate, Encore. 

Wizard, female

10/9/03 - 9/14/19


Wizard joined the Carleton colony on 3/15/07 and was the older sister of Yogi. She loved relaxing in her hammock with her cagemate, Roosevelt, and participated in cooperation, altruism, memory, and guesser-knower studies.

Wisteria, female

2/16/99 - 4/8/19


Wisteria came to Carleton with Vireo in 2016. We are still analyzing her brain tissue today!

Vulture, male

7/24/03 - 9/3/17


Vulture was a part of the bird family: brother to Heron and father to Oriole, a monkey currently living in our colony.

Descartes, female

3/2/02 - 2/2/17


Descartes was a big girl, partnered with Forte for most of her life. She loved cheerios and was very clever. She participated in cooperation studies, gestalt perception, global/local studies and category shifting studies. 

Quince: 4/1/93 - 6/12/17

Willow: 6/29/97 - 9/6/16

Quince & Willow, female & male


Willow (back) and Quince (front) joined the Carleton colony on 7/7/03, and have been in the global/local, counting, and knower-guesser studies. Quince was our oldest monkey to date (24 yrs). She is also sister to Caitlin, the first mom monkey in our colony. Quince participated in the memory studies, specifically visual search and category shifting, and Willow was a favorite in counting studies. 

Heron, male

6/10/02 - 11/8/16


Heron arrived at Carleton with his brother Vulture. Both boys were always a bit nervous; Heron expressed this in aggressive posturing while Vulture became more shy and hid when nervous. Heron lived with a variety of female mates while at Carleton, but mostly with Encore, who he had a son with (Egret).

Echinacea, male (back)

9/8/99 - 10/1/16


Echinacea (back) arrived at Carleton with Haagen Dasz (front) and was already very sick when he got to us, but he ended up living a long life and died when he was 17.

Henri: 9/2/14 - 7/16/15

Venus: 9/2/14 - 11/17/14


Henri and Venus were born from Oriole and Egret. Oriole had been an unsuccessful mother once before (babies died within 2 days), and had stillborn babies before that. Both were rejected by Oriole at birth and so were hand-fed in a separate cage. We allowed parental visits to ensure proper development, but Oriole suddenly attacked the babies 2 months after their birth. Venus died, but Henri survived and was raised separately from then on with lots of human contact. People enjoyed seeing us carry him down the hall and he played in the lab and in his cage. He developed very slowly and was prone to epileptic seizures so required a lot of care and attention. On July 16, 2015, Henri had a seizure early in the morning and died. His autopsy showed no other health related problems.

Henri & Venus, male & female

Cezanne: 8/29/97 - 10/28/15

Quaker: 8/17/98 - 7/17/13


Cezanne and Quaker joined the Carleton colony 8/30/06. Cezanne was extremely friendly and dominated the cage over her partner. She participated in the memory study and was the first monkey to be studied for Alzheimer’s disease because she seemed to have dementia. Brain labeling results from after her death indicate that she may indeed have had a form of dementia.

Cezanne & Quaker, female & male

Egret, male

10/2/06 - 12/14/14


Egret was born at Carleton College, and his parents were Encore and Heron. He lived with them until age 3 and then was mated with Oriole, another monkey born at Carleton (mom was Olympia). We were very sad to lose him unexpectedly at age 8 during a surgery.

Ophelia, female

12/26/94 - 5/1/12


Ophelia joined the Carleton colony on 11/17/98. She was a very friendly and engaging monkey and participated in the mirror recognition study, gaze direction, object permanence, and the global/local studies. She was the last member of the original group when she died, and we miss her a lot!

Olympia, female

9/17/96 - 9/30/11


Olympia joined the Carleton colony on 11/17/98. She was a dominant and grumpy girl who liked to be in charge of toys, siblings, and the food dishes. Everyone (tamarins and people) tolerated this because she was also very clever and a real joy to have around.

Fozzie: 7/13/94 - 5/5/11

Zhivago: 12/26/93 - 9/30/09


Fozzie and Zhivago arrived with the original group. They both participated in the mirror recognition, gaze direction, object permanence, sharing, and cooperation studies. They were truly a favorite couple at Carleton. 

Fozzie & Zhivago, female & male

Mac & Oprah, male & female

Mac: 2/16/90 - 4/1/05

Oprah: 6/7/88 - 5/1/02


Mac (front) and Oprah (back) were part of the original colony at Carleton. Both monkeys were very clever and deliberate, and Oprah once shook her head “no” to her medicine! We did not make her take it that day.

Caitlin, female

4/29/89 - 10/1/04


Caitlin was the matriarch of her group. She arrived pregnant, and gave birth to 4 offspring.

Rolo & Yohoo, male 

Rolo: 12/12/96 - 5/25/04

Yohoo: 7/8/97 - 6/26/04


The “chocolate brothers” Rolo and Yohoo  arrived at Carleton College with the original group and participated in studies very well. They lived together as adults, which is a rarity among tamarins. That's some true sibling love! 

Viola, female

12/25/98 - 2/20/04


Viola, Sebastian’s twin, was a smaller and more cautious than her brother.  She participated in the mirror recognition and gaze direction studies, and she died shortly after Sebastian.

Sebastian, male

12/25/98 - 12/3/03


Sebastian and his twin, Viola, were born right here at Carleton. He enjoyed scaring off intruders with a quick run and lots of piloerection.  He participated in the mirror recognition study and the gaze direction study. He was a wonderful big alpha monkey.

Dante, male

10/18/97 - 10/31/03


Dante was part of the original colony and arrived at Carleton on 11/17/98. He was a great subject, and if you weren't paying attention, you may have found him trying to climb into the pockets of your lab coat in pursuit of extra treats.

bottom of page