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.



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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!”


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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.


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