Got an Old Android Laying Around? Donate It to Help Lemur Research

The phones are used for a research project for the Duke Lemur Center.
Donovan Alexander

Who does not love lemurs? Their big eyes, fluffy tails, and overall adorable demeanor make them some of the world's most beloved animals.

Part of the primate species known as Prosimians, lemurs are found on the island of Madagascar and on the nearby Comoros Islands. Living high in the trees on the islands the cute primate spends most of its days, snacking on fruits, insects, nuts, and herbs. 

So as you read the title, you were probably wondering what your Android phone and a lemur have to do with each other. It's not that lemurs are avidly loyal Android users eager to use their phones to communicate with each other (Or, are they?). That Android phone you have in your drawer collecting dust could in fact be used for a series of exciting experiments at the Duke Lemur Center. 


A Lemur's Not So Colorful World

Believe it or not, a lemur's ability to see color is rather limited. Like most prosimians, they have relatively poor color vision, being dichromatic. In short, these animals are colorblind, meaning they can see a very limited range of colors.

While at the same time lemurs have an impressive host of senses like excellent hearing and a great sense of smell. They use the senses together with each other to detect food from a long distance, identify other "family" members, and to escape from danger fast. 

Got an Old Android Laying Around? Donate It to Help Lemur Research
Source: David Haring/Duke Lemur Center

Yet, interestingly in a study led by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, they surprisingly found out there is a rare minority of female lemurs with trichromatic colorblindness, which allows them to see colors better than their counterparts. This unique ability benefits an entire troop of lemurs during hard times. Researchers want to better understand how lemurs see and interact with color. 

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Researchers from the Duke Lemur Center are asking for smartphones because they want to gain a better understanding of how lemurs perceive colors. The team there are using a primate research software that is compatible with just Android iOS. Even more so, when it comes down to vision tests, researchers love using smart devices. However, because of the cute adorable size of these mouse lemurs, researchers would rather use smartphones instead. 

As stated by the Duke Lemur Center, Donated phones can be from any company – Samsung, Google, LG, Motorola, etc. – as long as they’re Android devices. (Please note that we can’t accept Apple iPhones.) Phones should be no more than approximately three years old and need to be cleared of all personal data. If possible, it would be great if you could send the charging cord, too!”

If you want to help out these adorable little lemurs you can find more information on the project and how to donate here

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