Neonatal behavioral scoring of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): Relation to physical condition and survival

S. D. Tardif, D. G. Layne, L. Cancino, D. A. Smucny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A seven-task behavioral test was performed on 86 common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) infants, 24-36 h following birth. This report describes the test outcome and its relation to physical condition and survival of the infants. The percentage of infants receiving a perfect score on a given task ranged from 30.6 (rooting) to 70.6% (grasping). Heavier infants were more likely to have perfect scores for crawling (F = 4.20, P = 0.044) and infants with a longer knee-heel length tended to be more likely to have a perfect grasping score (F = 3.63, P = 0.06). While the modal score was a perfect score for most individual tasks, the modal number of total perfect scores that a given infant received was 3-4 and only 4.7% of infants received perfect scores on all seven tasks. These results suggest that this group of behavioral tasks will produce a variable response within a population of neonates. While no individual behavioral score predicted survival during week 1, the number of perfect scores across all tasks was predictive of survival outcome; infants with a higher total number of perfect scores were more likely to survive (F = 6.02, P = 0.018). When all combinations of tests were compared, the best predictor of survival was outcome on four of the seven tests, all related to motor skills (F = 7.46, P = 0.009).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Birth mass
  • Birth weight
  • Common marmoset
  • Development
  • Neonatal behavior
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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