Posts Tagged ‘Macaques’

Ever clever macacques learn to fish

June 13, 2008

From the Associated Press comes a fascinating story about a new behavior observed in long-tailed macaque monkeys. They fish.

Reporting out of Bangkok, Thailand, the AP says that macaques had been known to collect crabs and insects, but that fishing was new. True, the silver-haired primates weren’t exactly using rods and reels, but four times over the past eight years macaques have been seen scooping up fish with their agile hands along rivers in Indonesia.

News of this behavior comes from researchers with The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust. The AP notes:

“It’s exciting that after such a long time you see new behavior,” said Erik Meijaard, one of the authors of a study on fishing macaques that appeared in last month’s International Journal of Primatology. “It’s an indication of how little we know about the species.”

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PHOTOS: The Animal Kingdom’s Odd Couples

May 22, 2008

A little macaque nestles its head on a pigeon that responds peacefully on Neilingding Island, China. Three months ago, the macaque was born on the island, but strayed from its mother. Luckily, it was taken in by work staff in the protective station and made the acquaintance of the pigeon. More than 2,000 macaques live on the island.

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Russia tests monkeys for Mars trip

April 16, 2008

They won’t utter Yuri Gagarin’s famous phrase “Let’s go!” But the monkeys of Sochi have already proven their worth as trailblazers in space – and now they are being groomed for a trip to Mars.

The macaques will be the first to experience the radiation that poses a big risk to astronauts – or Russian cosmonauts – on any flight to the Red Planet.

The Sochi Institute of Medical Primatology, at Vesyoloye near the Black Sea, has a proud history of involvement in the Russian – formerly Soviet – space programme.

“People and monkeys have approximately identical sensitivity to small and large radiation doses,” explains the institute’s director, Boris Lapin. “So it is better to experiment on the macaques, but not on dogs or other animals.”

The institute will select macaques that may eventually fly to Mars before humans do. After two years of experiments the most suitable 40 monkeys will be sent to the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, where scientists study aerospace biomedicine.

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Do Monkeys Pay for Sex?

January 7, 2008

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According to the paper, “Payment for Sex in a Macaque Mating Market,” published in the December issue of Animal Behavior, males in a group of about 50 long-tailed macaques in Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia, traded grooming services for sex with females; researchers, who studied the monkeys for some 20 months, found that males offered their payment up-front, as a kind of pre-sex ritual. It worked. After the females were groomed by male partners, female sexual activity more than doubled, from an average of 1.5 times an hour to 3.5 times. The study also showed that the number of minutes that males spent grooming hinged on the number of females available at the time: The better a male’s odds of getting lucky, the less nit-picking time the females received. Though primates have been observed trading grooming for food sharing or infant care, this is the first time this kind of exchange has been observed between male and female primates in a sexual context, says lead researcher Michael Gumert of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, demonstrating that the amount of time a male macaque “will invest in [its] partner” depends largely on how many options it has around.

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