Friday, December 20, 2013

Harvard Fined $24,000 For Animal Mistreatment After Monkeys Die

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it has fined Harvard Medical School $24,000 for repeated animal welfare violations at its research facilities that resulted in the deaths of four monkeys since 2011.

The government's decision to fine the elite university follows a lengthy probe into mistreatment of primates at its animal research labs in Massachusetts, one of which Harvard announced this year it plans to close.

Harvard Medical School said it found the fine "appropriate" but an animal rights group said it was too small.

The USDA fine cited Harvard for 11 incidents in 2011 and 2012, including several that noted laboratory personnel handling the animals were not properly trained or qualified.

Full story here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Iran Claims It Has Fired Second Monkey Into Outer Space And Safely Returned Him To Earth

Iran has sent a second live monkey into space and safely returned him to Earth, the country's state-run news agency reports.

Fargam the space monkey rode a Pajonesh rocket 75 miles up into space before his capsule safely detached and parachuted back to the ground, Iranian state TV said.

The report, which showed the rocket blasting off and then showed the monkey, strapped snugly into a seat, staring at people clapping to celebrate its safe return, added that the launch was Iran's first use of liquid fuel.

Iran frequently claims technological breakthroughs that are impossible to independently verify. The Islamic Republic has said it seeks to send an astronaut into space as part of an ambitious aerospace programme.

Full story here.

Happy Monkey Day 2013!

Happy Monkey Day!  Once again, Monkey Day arrives.  And once again, it's time to count down the most interesting, the craziest, the most profound monkey (and primate) news stories of 2013! 

So, without further ado, here are your top 10 Monkeys In The News posts of 2013:

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10. Daredevil Gorilla Walks Across Tightrope 

First he was homesick, but Kidogo, a gorilla in Krefeld zoo in Germany, now appears to be enjoying himself with a walk across a tightrope
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9. Chimpanzees Denied 'Personhood' Status By US Courts

Three New York courts have ruled that captive chimpanzees do not count as “legal people,” swatting back an activist group’s bid to grant them legal rights.

The Nonhuman Rights Project had expected to lose this first round of lawsuits, but the group plans to appeal the decisions as a habeas corpus petition, most likely in early 2014.
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8. Indonesian City Trying To End Masked Monkey Shows  

And nightmare plagued children across the city finally slept soundly for the first time in years...

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7. Monkey Makes Medical History After Having a Successful Liver Transplant From A Cloned Pig

A Tibetan macaque has entered the record books after successfully undergoing a liver transplant using an organ taken from a cloned pig.

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6. First Example Of Whispering Observed In Non-Human Primates: Tamarins "Whisper" Around Disliked Keepers

Yes, those monkeys really were whispering about you behind your back!  Now if we could just figure out what the pigeons have been chatting about.

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5. Tiny Tarsier Fossils Unveiled As Earliest Known Primate

The fossil is thought to be the earliest-discovered ancestor of small tree-dwelling primates called tarsiers, showing that even at this early time, the tarsier and anthropoid groups had split apart.

The slender-limbed, long-tailed primate, described today in Nature1, was about the size of today’s pygmy mouse lemur and would have weighed between 20 and 30 grams, the researchers estimate.
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4. Watch World First - Orangutan Birth Captured Live On Camera At Durrell 

Incredible, never-seen-before footage of the "miracle birth" of a Sumatran orangutan was caught live on video by Durrell Staff.

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3. Chimp With TV Remote Chooses Porn Channels

Try not to look so surprised...

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 2. Iran Launches Monkey Into Space

...or did they?

Speculation Over Iran's Monkey Launch As A Fake

Just because they sent up one monkey, and it came back as a different monkey doesn't mean it was a fake.  After all, I'm pretty sure that's how the Fantastic Four got their start, right?!?!  Did anyone check the monkey over for super powers?!?!

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 1. Monkey Tears Off Baby's Testicle And Eats It During Terrifying Zoo Attack

I'm going to just give a you few minutes to re-read that title...and again...and again...
The mother was changing her son's nappy when the animal attacked, ripping off the testicle before dropping it onto the ground.

An elderly man then reportedly picked up the severed appendage but the monkey snatched it from his hand before scampering away and eating it.
Somebody should have warned them:

Monkey Steals A Peach

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Another Monkey Day is here and you are not sure what to do with your self?  Well, how about socializing with some like-minded monkey lovers over at Reddit or Facebook!

And don’t forget, Monkey Day has chosen Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary to be the recipients of our digital love this year! We urge all Monkey Day celebrants and monkey lovers to please spend a minute and visit their website, “like” them on Facebook, if you have the means please donate or sponser one of their monkeys!  Happy Monkey Day’s Eve!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chimpanzees Denied 'Personhood' Status By US Courts

Three New York courts have ruled that captive chimpanzees do not count as “legal people,” swatting back an activist group’s bid to grant them legal rights.

The Nonhuman Rights Project filed three lawsuits on behalf of four chimps in order to win them the right to “bodily liberty.” The group wants the chimps to be moved to a sanctuary where they can live in an environment that resembles their wild habitat, CNN reports.

Founder and President Steve Wise has previously said that the lawsuits aimed to ask ”judges to recognize, for the first time, that these cognitively complex, autonomous beings have the basic legal right to not be imprisoned.”

The Nonhuman Rights Project had expected to lose this first round of lawsuits, but the group plans to appeal the decisions as a habeas corpus petition, most likely in early 2014.

Full story here.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Study: Fruit-mad South American monkeys eat 50 varieties a day

Researchers say that some monkeys in South and Central America eat as many as 50 different species of fruit a day.

A team from the University of East Anglia said that primate size and diet are closely connected.

They found that mid-sized species including Saki monkeys were the biggest fruit consumers.

Larger primates including Woolly Spider monkeys were more likely to eat leaves and foliage, they said.

The research has been published in the journal Oikos.

The scientists pulled together data from 290 studies of diets in primates in Central and South America spanning 42 years.

They found a clear relationship between animal size and dietary preferences.

Small monkeys such as marmosets and tamarins eat more insects and less fruit.

But as body size increases so does the preference for juicier foods. Species like Saki monkeys can eat between 45 and 50 species of fruit every day, often consuming their "five a day" in a hour of foraging.

Larger animals including Howler monkeys and Woolly Spider monkeys preferred leaves and foliage.

"We found that the diet of medium-sized primates is most likely to be dominated by fruits," said Dr Joseph Hawes, a co-author of the study.

"Smaller monkeys, which have higher metabolic requirements, eat more insects as the provide a high quality source of nutrients and calories," he said.
Rare fruits

And while monkeys are traditionally associated with eating bananas, the researchers found it wasn't the most popular fruit in South and Central America.

Full story here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Team Finds First Evidence Of Primates Regularly Sleeping In Caves

Scientists have discovered that some ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar regularly retire to limestone chambers for their nightly snoozes, the first evidence of the consistent, daily use of the same caves and crevices for sleeping among the world’s wild primates.

The ring-tailed lemurs may be opting to sleep in caves for several reasons, said University of Colorado Boulder anthropology Associate Professor Michelle Sauther, who led the study. While the cave-sleeping behavior is likely important because it provides safety from potential predators, it also can provide the primates with access to water and nutrients, help to regulate their body temperatures during cold or hot weather and provide refuge from encroaching human activities like deforestation, she said.

“The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis,” she said. “What we are seeing is a consistent, habitual use of caves as sleeping sites by these primates, a wonderful behavioral adaptation we had not known about before.”

Full story here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

India To Start Administering Birth Control To Frisky Monkeys

India is planning to put its rising population of primates on the pill to tackle the growing "monkey menace" in its towns and cities, government wildlife officials have confirmed.

Vasectomies and sterilisation programmes are also being developed as part of a broader plan to curb the chaos being caused by troupes of marauding monkeys as urban India expands into their traditional forests.

Thousands of red-bottomed Rhesus Macaques or Bhandar monkeys are the scourge of New Delhi, where they roam through government buildings, chew Internet cables, bite the unwary carrying food and steal from people's homes.

Delhi's deputy mayor was killed when he was knocked from his balcony by clambering monkeys in 2007.

Until earlier this year, the Indian capital's employed "monkey catchers" deployed larger, black-faced Langur monkeys to scare away the macaques.
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But since the use of and trade in Langur monkeys was banned earlier this year, the Indian government has been looking for a new solution.

Earlier this year officials from the Central Zoo Authority collaborated with the National Primate Centre in California to develop a new strategy with the Wildlife Institute of India. The researchers in California recommended a programme of oral contraceptives, female sterilisation and vasectomies, officials said.

Full story here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Color Patterns Of Monkey Faces Reflect Social Order

Monkeys have the most colorful faces of all mammals. New research says there are links between monkeys’ color patterns and their social structure and environment.

The study, led by Sharlene Santana, assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington and the curator of mammals at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, examined 139 species of catarrhines, a group of Old World monkeys and apes from Africa and Asia.

To compare faces, Santana and her co-authors conducted complex analyses of hundreds of monkey “head-shots” from online databases.

The study, published in Nature Communications, found that species that live in larger (more social) groups have faces with more complex color patterns than those that live in smaller groups. These color patterns have also evolved to be more complex when closely related species live within the same area, possibly making it easier to tell each other apart.

Full story here.

Study: Monkeys Understand Language Musicality Rules: Evolution of Human Speech

Language is a part of what makes us human, but learning different languages can often be a difficult process. There are rules and patterns in a language that make something "sound good" or cause it to become almost intelligible. Now, scientists have found that these structural and melodic patterns in languages are so simple, even monkeys can understand them.

Both language and music are structured systems. They feature particular relationships between syllables, words and musical notes. For example, implicit knowledge of the musical and grammatical patterns of our language makes us notice right away whether a speaker is a native or not. In a similar way, the perceived musicality of some languages results from dependency relations between vowels within a word.

Similar "dependencies" within words can be found in languages around the world. In order to see whether or not the ability to process these dependencies was a uniquely human feature, though, researchers turned to South American squirrel monkeys. Inspired by the monkey's natural calls and hearing predispositions, the scientists designed a type of "musical system" for monkeys. These musical patterns had overall acoustic features similar to monkeys' calls, while their structural features mimicked syntactic or phonological patterns like those found in human languages.

Full story here.

Senate Sends Bill That Includes Chimp Haven Provisions To President Obama

Congress has sent President Barack Obama a bill that would lift a $30 million federal spending limit for the national federal research chimpanzee sanctuary in northwest Louisiana.

The bill’s final passage came when the Senate accepted House amendments to an unrelated health bill on Thursday. One amendment would let the U.S. health secretary override the cap if that would cut money spent to house all chimpanzees owned by the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s a great day for federally owned chimpanzees,” said Cathy Willis Spraetz, president and CEO of Chimp Haven in Keithville, La., the national sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from federal research.

“I am breaking out the champagne as we speak,” she said. “We are so excited to start this new chapter in the lives of these federally owned chimpanzees who have spent decades of their lives in research. It’s now time to bring ‘em home to sanctuary.”

Full story here.

Hundreds Of Rare Primates Seized In Indonesia

A record number of slow lorises have been seized in Indonesia, according to officials.

Photos from the International Animal Rescue Foundation show dozens of boxes containing the endangered animal. They had been seized on the main island of Java.

The lorises were rescued by the Indonesian Natural Resources Conservation Agency and were being cared for by the IAR in temporary cages at a rehabilitation centre in Bogor.

They were being moved from Sumatra to Java by smugglers who were about to sell them on as pets at markets.

Six lorises died because they had been squeezed so tightly into crates without food and water.

Full story here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Indonesian City Trying To End Masked Monkey Shows

Indonesia's capital is getting rid of the monkey business.

Security forces are conducting raids to rescue macaques used in masked monkey performances on Jakarta's streets.

The order came from Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo, better known as "Jokowi," who wants all roadside monkey performances — known here as topeng monyet — gone by next year.

He said that besides improving public order and stopping animal abuse, the move is aimed at preventing diseases carried by the monkeys.

The city government will buy back all monkeys used as street buskers for about $90 and shelter them at a 1-hectare (2.5-acre) preserve at Jakarta's Ragunan Zoo. The handlers and caretakers will be provided vocational training to help find new jobs.

Animal rights groups have long campaigned for a ban on the shows, which often involve monkeys wearing plastic baby doll heads on their faces. They say the monkeys are hung from chains for long periods to train them to walk on their hind legs like humans. Their teeth are pulled so they can't bite, and they are tortured to remain obedient. The monkeys are often outfitted in dresses and cowboy hats and forced to carry parasols or ride tiny bikes.

Full story here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Marmoset Monkeys Can Engage In Polite Conversation

Humans aren’t the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking, according to evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 17.

“We were surprised by how reliably the marmoset monkeys exchanged their vocalizations in a cooperative manner, particularly since in most cases they were doing so with individuals that they were not pair-bonded with,” says Asif Ghazanfar of Princeton University. “This makes what we found much more similar to human conversations and very different from the coordinated calling of animals such as birds, frogs, or crickets, which is linked to mating or territorial defense.”

In other words, both people and marmosets appear to be willing to “talk” to just about anyone, and without any rude interruptions. The discovery makes marmosets rather unique, the researchers say, noting that chimps and other great apes “not only don’t take turns when they vocalize, they don’t seem to vocalize much at all, period!”

Full story here.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Tiny, Strange Primate Fossil Unearthed in Coal Mine

The fossilized jaw of a pint-size primate that lived about 35 million years ago in Asia has been unearthed in Thai coal mines.

The new species, dubbed Krabia minuta, after the Krabi coal mines where it was found, was an ancient, extinct member of a group of primates called anthropoids, which includes the ancestors to all monkeys and apes, including humans. Even so, the creature showed peculiar features, including its distinct molars, not seen in other members of this primate group.

Full story here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Example Of Whispering Observed In Non-Human Primates: Tamarins "Whisper" Around Disliked Keepers

The first example of whispering by non-human primates has been observed amongst a group of tamarin monkeys in captivity in New York City’s Central Park Zoo.

The group of cotton-top tamarins were being observed in order to study their use of human-directed mobbing calls (signals made by groups of prey to confuse and intimidate predators).

However, scientists observed that when a particularly disliked member of zoo staff entered the tamarins’ habitation the primates did not make mobbing calls but instead communicated with one another using “low amplitude vocalizations”.

The research concluded that “the tamarins were reducing the amplitude of their vocalizations in the context of exposure to a potential threat”. In other words the primates - like many humans - felt it was prudent to keep quiet when a disliked or dangerous individual was around.

The zoo keeper in question had been involved in the capture of the tamarins, with the family of five previously exhibiting "a strong mobbing response" in his presence.

Full story here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rihanna's Loris Photo Leads Police To Arrest Protected Primate Poachers

rihanna loris primate
While on a break from her Diamonds World Tour, Rihanna spent a weekend at the beach in Thailand.

At a stop in Phuket, she posted a photo on Instagram of herself in sunglasses, with a furry primate known as the slow loris perched on her shoulder. "Look who was talkin dirty to me!" the pop star tweeted.

The animal, which is native to Southeast Asia, is listed as a protected species, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities, who apparently follow badgalriri on Instagram or at least have tipsters who do, arrested two people — a man, 20, and a boy, 16 — who provided the loris for the photo opp, Phuket district chief Weera Kerdsirimongkon told AP on Sunday.

The man and teen face a penalty of up to four years in prison and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine.

Weera said authorities are constantly trying to crack down on vendors who exploit wildlife by offering them up to tourists who will pay to pose with elephants, orangutans and other animals.

"It's like a cat-and-mouse game. But this time it's bigger because a celebrity like Rihanna posted the picture, and there were more than 200,000 'likes' from around the world," he said.

Full story here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Herpes-Infected Monkeys Terrorize Florida

Hundreds of rare wild monkeys — some carrying herpes — are on the loose in Florida after a tour guide brought the spunky critters to the state long ago.

Wildlife officials said that three pairs of Rhesus monkeys were transported to a park near Ocala in the 1930s by tour operator Colonel Tooey after a “Tarzan” flick sparked a fascination with the creature.

But the breed has since boomed and more than 1,000 of the monkeys now live in the state, wildlife officials say.

State officials have caught more than 700 of the monkeys in the past decade — most of which tested positive for the herpes-B virus.

Wildlife officials now consider the monkeys a public health hazard.

Full story here.

Orangutans Plan Their Future Route And Communicate It To Others

Male orangutans plan their travel route up to one day in advance and communicate it to other members of their species. In order to attract females and repel male rivals, they call in the direction in which they are going to travel. Anthropologists at the University of Zurich have found that not only captive, but also wild-living orangutans make use of their planning ability.
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For a long time it was thought that only humans had the ability to anticipate future actions, whereas animals are caught in the here and now. But in recent years, clever experiments with great apes in zoos have shown that they do remember past events and can plan for their future needs. Anthropologists at the University of Zurich have now investigated whether wild apes also have this skill, following them for several years through the dense tropical swamplands of Sumatra.

Full story here.

Vaccine 'Clears HIV-Like Virus' In Monkeys

A vaccine for the monkey equivalent of HIV appears to eradicate the virus, a study suggests.

Research published in the journal Nature has shown that vaccinated monkeys can clear Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) infection from their bodies.

It was effective in nine of the 16 monkeys that were inoculated.

The US scientists say they now want to use a similar approach to test a vaccine for HIV in humans.

Prof Louis Picker, from the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, said: "It's always tough to claim eradication - there could always be a cell which we didn't analyse that has the virus in it. But for the most part, with very stringent criteria... there was no virus left in the body of these monkeys."

Full story here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Evidence Shows Apes Can Visually Organize Biological Information like Humans Do

Concept formation -- as in being able to distinguish cats from dogs or to recognize the biological similarities between chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans and categorize them accordingly -- is a way of organizing information based on visual cues, one that humans utilize from an early age. But we are not the only ones. Orangutans, and possibily gorillas, are able to organize information based on visual cues in the same manner as humans, according to new research published in the new open-access journal PeerJ.

The discovery goes against the view that concept formation is dependent on formal training and/or the ability to form verbal labels for such concepts.

Jennifer Vonk, an associate professor of psychology at Oakland University, built upon a previous study where she tested a group of orangutans' and a gorilla's ability to differentiate between different animal species by selecting images on a computer touch-screen. In that experiment, orangutans, but not the gorilla, appeared to learn intermediate level category discriminations, such as primates versus non-primates, more rapidly than they learned concrete level discriminations, such as orangutans versus humans

Full story here.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Monkey Tears Off Baby's Testicle And Eats It During Terrifying Zoo Attack

This eight month old baby is recovering in hospital after a monkey tore off one of his testicles before running away and eating it.

The distressing attack took place at the Guiyang Qianling Wildlife Park in Guìyáng, the capital of Guizhou province in Southwest China, according to reports.

The mother was changing her son's nappy when the animal attacked, ripping off the testicle before dropping it onto the ground.

An elderly man then reportedly picked up the severed appendage but the monkey snatched it from his hand before scampering away and eating it.

The boy's injury is not life-threatening, Chinese media reports.

Full story here.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gorilla Stones Swedish Woman In Zoo Ambush

A gorilla opened a gash in a Swedish woman's forehead after throwing rocks at her at a Swedish zoo on Saturday.

The woman, 38, was hit in the forehead by the stone, which was thrown by one of the five gorillas at the Kolmården National Park in central Sweden. The stone measured roughly five centimetres in diameter, said Marjorie Castro, head of the zoo.

"At first everything seemed fine. She was bleeding a little from her forehead, but seemed to be in good health," Castro told the Aftonbladet paper. "But she was hit in the head and gorillas have enormous strength, so we called an ambulance. After a while, she felt weak and we had to lie her down."

Castro added that the gorillas have never thrown things at visitors before, with the exception of lighter objects like grass.

However, following the news of the stone-throwing gorilla, other Swedes shared similar stories about their experiences with the Kolmården primates. The mother of a 7-year-old boy told Aftonbladet that Enzo the gorilla had thrown a stone at her son in July last year.

Full story here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Boa Constrictor Seen Eating Howler Monkey In a Predatory First

For the first time, scientists have witnessed a boa constrictor attacking and eating a howler monkey. The finding is noteworthy since reports of primates being eaten by predators are relatively rare, according to the study, published this month in the journal Primates.

"This may cause us to rethink how vulnerable [these] primates are to predation," said Paul Garber, a primatologist at the University of Illinois, who wasn't involved in the study.

Predation does happen to primates and monkeys, particularly by snakes, large raptors and big cats — but it has not been witnessed very often, Garber told LiveScience. That's due in part to the fact that primates live in groups, wherein each member looks out for threats, providing "coordinated predator detection," he said. Primates also generally have good vision that enables them to spot would-be attackers. It's also possible that the presence of scientists watching primates helps drive predators away, he added.

Full story here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vote For Your Favorite Chimpanzee Artwork - Winning Sanctuary Gets Prize

The HSUS teamed up with six member sanctuaries from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance to showcase the talents of their resident chimpanzees. Below you will find chimpanzee “masterpieces” from each of the participating sanctuaries, along with photos and descriptions of the artists themselves.

Join The HSUS and our world-renowned guest judge, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, in honoring chimpanzee creativity and supporting the exceptional sanctuaries caring for chimpanzees retired from the research, entertainment, and pet industries. Vote for your favorite chimpanzee artwork today and once every day until 5:00 p.m. ET, August 22, 2013. All results will be announced on August 29, 2013. The winning sanctuaries will each receive a prize from The HSUS.

Full story here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Watch World First - Orangutan Birth Captured Live On Camera At Durrell

Dana was left with blocked fallopian tubes, leaving her infertile. However, expert intervention by Jersey General Hospital’s Head Obstetrician, Neil MacLachlan, allowed Dana and 28 year-old dominant male ‘Dagu’ to conceive again against all the odds, in late 2012.

Neil visited Dana throughout her pregnancy working with our team who, using trained behaviour techniques, carried out ultrasound scanning of Dana’s bump. This gave us the best possible chance of a healthy mother and baby.

Our team also worked hard at capturing the events leading up to and during the birth, that led to a BBC documentary to highlight our work with Critically Endangered animals globally and how we continue to save species from extinction.

Warning, birth! If you aren't comfortable with functions of the body, human or otherwise, don't watch.

Full story here.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Swimming With Apes - Breaststroke Preferred

Different strokes for different folks? Not when it comes to the aquatic ape: the first detailed observations of swimming chimpanzees and orang-utans suggest that they, like us, tend to swim using a form of breaststroke. The findings imply that we may owe our swimming style to our evolutionary past.

Apart from humans, great apes usually avoid deep water for fear of unseen predators that might be lurking there, but anecdotal evidence shows that they will go for a dip if they feel safe enough.

Cooper the chimpanzee and Suryia the orang-utan are extreme examples of this. These two captive apes, raised respectively in Missouri and South Carolina, have thrown off any instinctive fear and taught themselves to swim in a swimming pool.

Full story here.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Strange Ancient Ape Walked On All Fours

A bizarre ancient ape whose gait has stumped researchers for decades walked on all fours and swung from the trees, new research suggests.

Oreopithecus bambolii, an ape that lived on an isolated island 7 million to 9 million years ago in what is now Tuscany and Sardinia, Italy, didn't have the pelvis or spine necessary for regular upright walking, the researchers said. Rather, the beast traversed Earth on all fours.

Their conclusion, detailed online July 23 in the Journal of Human Evolution, overturns an earlier hypothesis that the mysterious ape independently evolved bipedal, or two-legged, walking.

Full story here.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Chimps Briefly Escape Twycross Zoo, Lured Back With Ice Cream And Fizzy Drinks

A Leicestershire zoo had to close when eight chimpanzees found their way into service corridors in their enclosure.

At 09:35 BST, the chimps at Twycross Zoo escaped into an area they were not meant to be, leading to safety concerns.

A police spokesperson later said "everything was now in order".

Twycross Zoo, which reopened two hours later, said the animals were encouraged back into their enclosure with ice cream and fizzy drinks.

Full story here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Dwarf Lemur Species Found In Madagascar

In the forests of southern Madagascar, scientists have discovered a new type of dwarf lemur. But the previously unknown species may already be on its way to extinction; researchers' initial estimates suggest there could be fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild.

Lemurs are primates that are only found on Madagascar, a large island off the eastern coast of Africa known for its rich biodiversity and unique creatures. The newly described Lavasoa dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus lavasoensis) has so far only been found in three isolated forests on the island, researchers say.

The animal likely eluded scientists for so long because of its secretive lifestyle. Dwarf lemurs are nocturnal, they spend much of their time high up in the forest canopy, and many have a period of dormancy, in which they hide in burrows or hollowed out trees for several months of the year in a bid to save energy.

Researchers were taking tissue samples from known species of dwarf lemurs when they made the find. Initially, they had grouped samples from the new species with samples from endangered furry-eared dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus crossleyi), but a genetic analysis proved that they were dealing with two distinct animals.

Full story here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Government Retiring Chimps Used In Medical Research

The National Institutes of Health plans to end most use of chimpanzees in government medical research, saying humans' closest relatives "deserve special respect."

The NIH announced Wednesday that it will retire about 310 government-owned chimpanzees from research over the next few years, and keep only 50 others essentially on retainer — available if needed for crucial medical studies that could be performed no other way.

"These amazing animals have taught us a great deal already," said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. He said the decision helps usher in "a compassionate era."

Full story here.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Monkey Makes Medical History After Having a Successful Liver Transplant From A Cloned Pig

A Tibetan macaque has entered the record books after successfully undergoing a liver transplant using an organ taken from a cloned pig.

The Xijing Hospital in Xi'an, China, announced that it made the successful liver transplant from the pig to a monkey on Thursday.

The transplant took place on 28 May and the macaque is now in a stable enough condition for the transplant to be considered a success.

Experts said that the success of this operation is a breakthrough in the field of major organ transplant surgeries.

Doctors at the Chinese hospital had attempted the transplant earlier in May with a different Tibetan macaque and the liver from transgenic pig but the monkey died two days after the operation.

Full story here.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Tiny Tarsier Fossils Unveiled As Earliest Known Primate

The near-complete fossil of a tiny creature unearthed in China in 2002 has bolstered the idea that the anthropoid group of primates — whose modern-day members include monkeys, apes and humans — had appeared by at least 55 million years ago. The fossil primate does not belong to that lineage, however: it is thought to be the earliest-discovered ancestor of small tree-dwelling primates called tarsiers, showing that even at this early time, the tarsier and anthropoid groups had split apart.

The slender-limbed, long-tailed primate, described today in Nature1, was about the size of today’s pygmy mouse lemur and would have weighed between 20 and 30 grams, the researchers estimate. The mammal sports an odd blend of features, with its skull, teeth and limb bones having proportions resembling those of tarsiers, but its heel and foot bones more like anthropoids. “This mosaic of features hasn’t been seen before in any living or fossil primate,” says study author Christopher Beard, a palaeontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Full story here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chimp’s photos of Moscow could earn serious cash at Sotheby’s auction

The monkey — once a popular performer at the Moscow Circus — was taught by contemporary artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid how to snap his first Polaroid when he was 15.

He eventually graduated to a regular camera, and then, an antique.

A collection of the chimp’s pics — dubbed “Our Moscow Through The Eyes Of Mikki” — present a “new perspective,” according to Sotheby’s.

The shots are “akin to experimental photography and reference millions of photos taken by tourists on a daily basis,” Sotheby’s said.

Full story here.

Oldest Evidence of Split Between Old World Monkeys and Apes Discovered

The oldest ape and Old World monkey fossils have been unearthed in a riverbed in Tanzania, a new study reports.

Researchers found a tooth from the newfound species Nsungwepithecus gunnelli, the oldest member of the primate group that contains Old World monkeys (cercopithecoids). The team also found a jawbone from the newfound species Rukwapithecus fleaglei, an early member of the hominoids, the group containing the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans) and lesser apes (gibbons).

Full story here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Research Team Restores Monkey's Hand Function With Artificial Neural Connection

Scientists working together from Japanese and American universities may have made a pretty large leap in restoring neural function for those with non-paralyzing spinal cord injuries. The researchers applied a "novel artificial neuron connection" over lesions in the spinal cord of a partially paralyzed monkey, partially restoring its arm / brain circuit and allowing greater hand control purely by brainpower.

Full story here.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Researchers: Monkey Lip-Smacking Resembles Human Speech

Thore Bergman, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, has discovered that monkey lip-smacking resembles human speech.

According to National Geographic, gelada monkeys reside in the high mountain meadows of Ethiopa, where they have adapted to living on steep, rocky cliffs. The 100,000 to 200,000 surviving geladas are also the last remaining species of ancient grazing primates. The rare monkeys have fatty rear ends which allow them to sit and eat grass for long periods of time.

A news release from Cell Press notes that the gelada is the only nonhuman primate that communicates with a “speech-like, undulating rhythm.” According to Bergman, the sounds that other monkeys and apes make are usually one or two syllables. The gelada’s lip-smacking vocalizations also lack quick changes in pitch and volume.

According to Bergman, the lip-smacking behavior, which is shown during friendly interactions with other geladas, could have been an evolutionary step toward human speech.

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alcohol Consumption Traced To Ape Ancestor

The taste for alcohol may be an ancient craving. The ability to metabolize ethanol — the alcohol in beer, wine and spirits — might have originated in the common ancestor of chimpanzees, gorillas and humans roughly 10 million years ago, perhaps when this ancestor became more terrestrial and started eating fruits fermenting on the ground.

Chemist Steven Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., reached that conclusion by “resurrecting” the alcohol-metabolizing enzymes of extinct primates. Benner and his colleagues estimated the enzymes’ genetic code, built the enzymes in the lab and then analyzed how they work to understand how they changed over time.

Full story here.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Speculation Over Iran's Monkey Launch As A Fake

...a series of photographs that show differences in the monkey's appearance, before and after the launch, appear to show two different monkeys.

Before the launch, several state-controlled media branches posted photographs of the monkey with a distinctive red mole above its right eye. It also had light fur round its head.

Upon the monkey's "return" from space, the mole had vanished, as had the fur.

The photographs have led to speculation that either they launched the capsule into space, but it never returned, or that the launch never took place.

The US state department at the time expressed doubts about whether it had ever happened.

Iranian state television showed still pictures of the capsule and of a monkey being fitted with a vest and then placed in a device similar to a child's car-seat.

Full story here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monkeys Attack 7 People In East Indonesian Village

A mob of wild monkeys has gone on a rampage in a village in eastern Indonesia, entering houses and attacking residents. Seven people were injured, including one who is in critical condition.

Ambo Ella, a spokesman for Sidendeng Rappang District in South Sulawesi province, says the surprise attack by about 10 monkeys happened in Toddang Pulu village.

He said Wednesday that a 16-year-old boy was badly bitten in the attack Monday and is being treated at the hospital

He believes the troop came from a nearby forest protected by a local tribe. It's unclear why the monkeys, which are usually afraid of humans and flee when they hear human voices, emerged and attacked.

Local authorities are investigating to find out what prompted the attack, which caused panic among villagers.

Full story here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Iran Launches Monkey Into Space

iran monkey space
Iran joined the international dash for space in earnest on Monday when it claimed to have a successfully launched a live monkey into space in an Iranian-built space capsule.

Iranian media reported on Monday that the country's space agency had sent the creature 75 miles (120 km) above the Earth in a Kavoshgar rocket capsule named Pishgam (Pioneer). Though the report has yet to be independently verified, officials said the capsule had returned intact and the monkey was still alive after its sub-orbital experience.

"The explorer rocket … returned to the Earth after reaching the desired speed and altitude, and the living creature (a monkey) was retrieved and found alive," the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Full story here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chimp Gets Blanket And Hot Tea In Welsh Sanctuary

It was blankets and hot tea for these chimps at a sanctuary in Wales. Their roots are in the tropical rainforests of Africa.

That means the freezing UK weather is a challenge for them. And one of the apes won't even venture outdoors without her blanket. Jan Garen, zookeeper, told Reuters this about the chimp, "she lived in a house for about 29 years when she was a youngster, so it's just what she's been used to. And she enjoys having a blanket; it doesn't do her any harm so if she wants one to keep warm she can have one."

And while she shivers, her mates seem happy to make the most of the snow.

Full story here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chimp With TV Remote Chooses Porn Channels

chimp tv porn
A chimp named Gina became addicted to porn after a television set and a remote control were placed inside her enclosure at a zoo in Spain.

Primatologist Pablo Herreros recently told a Spanish newspaper that he made the discovery years ago while touring different zoos. According to the New York Daily News, the television was placed inside the enclosure to help stimulate the primates both physically and psychologically.

Herreros explained that primates are often given toys, objects, and various stimuli as a kind of “occupational therapy.” In order to keep a chimp named Gina content, zookeepers decided to install a television behind a glass barrier. The chimp was also given a remote control so she should control what she wanted to see.

According to, Gina’s handlers were happy that she didn’t immediately try to smash the television. They were even more delighted when they discovered the chimp has learned to use the remote control within a relatively short amount of time.

However, the real shocker arrived when zookeepers discovered that the chimp had become addicted to watching porn. Instead of nature shows, cartoons, or cheesy action flicks, Gina had decided pornography was her entertainment of choice.

Herreros explained to the newspaper:

“The surprise was when they found that within a few days, Gina was not only using the remote control perfectly well, but that she also used to choose the porn channel for entertainment, as many of us would have done. Although a small study estimated that porn films are only watched for about 12 minutes on average, the truth is that human and non-human primates possess an intense sexual life.”

Full story here.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Monkey Crashes U.S. Embassy In Sri Lanka

The embassy invasion began on Dec. 20, when an an e-mail went out to employees of the facility in Colombo notifying them that the ground floor doors were locked because a monkey was trapped in the building and instructing them to use alternate exits. “A little bit different than a Kabul ‘lock down!’” observed one worker there whose previous tours of duty were perhaps a bit more dangerous.

We’re unclear exactly what kind of monkey it was, but speculation was that it was a toque macaque, a medium-sized specimen common in Sri Lanka — generally harmless to humans, and, with a swirl of hair not dissimilar to Donald Trump’s,pretty adorable.

There was apparently trouble when removing the visitor, since a plea soon went out for anyone with experience with wild animals (who says our diplomatic corps isn’t a talented bunch?) to help out. The day ended with the monkey business still at hand.

Day Two of the siege ended happily, with the little fella (or perhaps it was a lady monkey, we’re not sure) ultimately vaulting the embassy wall, urged on with bananas and encouraging shouts from burly Marines and a group of off-duty drivers on the scene.

Full story here.