Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Knoxville Zoo chimps confront wayward raccoon

It's doubtful a wild raccoon expected a big chimp challenge when he wandered through the Knoxville Zoo.

A few days ago, "Downtown" Randall Brown was visiting the zoo with his son, Will White, when they spotted something unexpected in Chimp Ridge.

A raccoon had somehow gotten inside the chimpanzee enclosure, and had been "treed" by the youngest and most inquisitive member of the group, 7-year-old George. While the other chimps looked on from nearby, George grabbed a stick and was trying to poke the raccoon.


Full story here.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Monkeys kill temple priest in Patna, India

Munna Mishra, a temple priest, was killed when a troop of monkeys playing on the terrace of his house dropped a few bricks on him.

Monkeys on a rampage have left Patna residents a harried lot these days. Several persons, including women and children, have borne the burnt of simian attacks in the past few days. Not to mention people have lost their lives because of the monkey menace in the area.

Munna Mishra, a temple priest, was killed in the Mirchai Gali locality under Chowk police station of Old Patna when a troop of monkeys playing on the terrace of his house dropped a few bricks on him while he was sweeping the floor downstairs on Monday. Mishra was rushed to the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital by his family members but he succumbed to his injuries on the way.

Mishra's death caused widespread panic in the area. He was the third person in recent times to have lost his life because of the nuisance caused by monkeys in the locality. After Mishra's death, police wanted to take his body for a post-mortem examination to enable his family get ex-gratia but his relatives declined to opt for the autopsy of his body. Locals alleged that monkeys had bitten several people in areas under the three police stations of Malsalami, Chowk and Khajekalan over the past week.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

US Government Finally Banning Chimp Research

Biomedical and invasive research on chimpanzees will no longer be supported by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). They further decided last Wednesday that they will retire the 50 chimps reserved for future studies.

"We find no evidence that there is a need to continue to do research of an invasive sort on chimpanzees, not now and not going into the future", said Dr. Collins. The decision will finally close the controversial federally funded primate testing and follow the 2013 decision to retire chimpanzees to animal sanctuaries.

In addition, an allocation of $3 million to house additional animals plus the $30 million sanctuary budget set aside by federal legislators last 2000 will be requested to the Congress. In an interview, Collins cited two rationale to coming up with the decision according to the New York Times. First, the 2011 extensive independent assessment that assessed chimpanzee's use on biomedical research led the agency to retire the 300 government-owned chimpanzees two years after and also to set more stringent rules on primates' research.


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Howler monkeys with louder roars have smaller testes, potentially shedding light on men's behavior

Those men catcalling and driving Hummers and hollering at football games and, heck, mansplaining – are they compensating for something else?

Science suggests yes.

A new study finds that monkeys with louder calls also have, ahem, smaller balls – and by extension, less sperm for reproduction.

"In evolutionary terms, all males strive to have as many offspring as they can, but when it comes to reproduction you can't have everything," said lead researcher Jacob Dunn of the University of Cambridge's Division of Biological Anthropology, crushing the hopes of high school boys everywhere.

"When males invest in large bodies, bright colors, or weaponry such as horns or long canines, they are unable to also invest in reproductive traits," Dunn added.

It's unclear whether the results extend to gold chains and Camaros, but this is the first study to find an apparent tradeoff between "vocal investment and sperm production," he said.

The researchers studied Howler monkeys, the That-Guy-from-the-Bleacher-Section of the animal kingdom. Weighing just 15 pounds – or the size of a small dog – the species ranks as one of the loudest on the planet, unleashing a roar that can be heard 3 miles away, powered by vocal cords three times longer than a human's.


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Controversy over pigtailed macaques picking coconuts in Thailand

For around 400 years, pigtailed macaques and not humans are picking coconuts. Experts from the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have found that it is because monkeys collect more coconuts than humans.

As per study researchers, monkeys can collect around 1,600 coconuts per day and a female can collect 600 and on the other hand, humans can collected around 80 per day. Not only it is about quantity, from the safety point of view as well monkeys can easily pluck and drop the fruit from the tall trees.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Zeek the Monkey Escapes, Eats Mail in Orlando

A Florida town got a wild surprise when a monkey was spotted on the loose Monday morning.

Residents of Sanford, near Orlando, posted photos on Twitter of the monkey, named "Zeek," jumping on cars and sitting on a mailbox eating someone's mail, according to cops.

The Sanford Police Department said they received a call around 8 a.m. to report the monkey roaming the streets, they told NBC affiliate WFLA.

Officers were able to distract the monkey with a bottle of water, after it started tearing at the police cars.

According to the department's Facebook page, the monkey was finally corralled up by a "private owner" after being caught.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pioneering scientists grow monkey arms in the lab

scientists grow monkey arms in the lab
In a U.S. laboratory, a monkey arm is stripped down as far as its individual cells. All that's left behind is a bare, frail scaffold.

But that's not the end of the road for this arm. The scaffold is rebuilt with infusions of cells from another being -- be it a monkey, or a human -- which grow and transform the limb.

The aim is ultimately to restore the limb to its fully functional form. But this transformed limb will contain the blood, bones, muscles, cartilage -- and more -- not of the animal it once was, but instead, the animal providing these new cells.

The hope is to eventually use human cells to make limbs that can be transplanted in humans -- and the technology is already being trialled in monkeys.


Full story here.
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Memphis Zoo reports small monkey escaped enclosure

Memphis Zoo reports small monkey escaped enclosure
Workers are trying to catch a small, “very spirited” monkey that escaped its enclosure at the Memphis Zoo.

WMC-TV reports the primate, a macaque named Zimm, broke free around 4 p.m. Thursday.

After the escape, visitors were asked to leave the nearby area as workers searched for Zimm, who senior veterinarian Felicia Knight called a “very spirited monkey.”

Zoo officials say Zimm, who weighs about 10 pounds and is described as harmless, likely ran into a storm drain on the property.

They say she could be asleep and may not come out until morning.

The zoo tweeted: “Sleep well, little macaque. We’ll have you home soon.”


Full story here.
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Monkeys, rats form 'brainet' to move virtual arm, predict weather

Monkeys, rats form 'brainet' to move virtual arm, predict weather
It seems three monkey brains are better than one when it comes to performing simple tasks using only the power of thought.

Scientists at Duke University wired the brains of adult rhesus macaque monkeys to form a network, or "brainet," and observed them in their separate rooms as they were each given partial control over a virtual arm they could see on a screen.

When the animals worked together, they were able to synchronize their brain activity to guide the arm of an avatar, allowing them to reach for a virtual ball. Their reward was a small drink of juice.

One monkey acting alone could not move the arm in three dimensions, but three working together could control the 3D movements and reach the moving target.

The monkeys were connected only to a computer, but not one another.

However, in a second set of experiments, the team directly wired the brains of four rats together, and to a computer, to allow the animals to transmit neural brain activity to each other.

The team outfitted the animals with multi-electrode arrays in the motor and somatosensory (sense of touch) cortices to capture and transmit their brain activity.


Full story here.
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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Giant Mouse Lemur Boasts Largest Proportional Testicles Of All Primates

Giant Mouse Lemur Boasts Largest Testicles Of All Primates
Despite its diminutive stature, the giant mouse lemur has the largest pair of testicles relative to its size among primates, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Oxford Brookes University, the Bristol Zoological Society and the German Primate Center discovered that the northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza), which typically weighs a meager 11 ounces, owns disproportionately-sized genitals in comparison to its body mass.

When put into context in relation to an average-sized human, this means that a 177-pound gentleman would have a pair of testicles as big as decent-sized grapefruits.

In a study featured in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the researchers found that this lemur species is capable of reproducing all throughout the year. In fact, adult male lemurs often roam around the wild look for potential mating partners and try to copulate with as many females as possible.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30 Monkeys break free in great escape from research facility in Puerto Rico

Authorities say more than two dozen monkeys have been set free in Puerto Rico after someone broke a lock on their enclosures at a primate research facility.

Police say the roughly 30 rhesus macaques were freed early Sunday from the Caribbean Primate Research Center in the northern town of Toa Baja.

The facility established in the late 1930s is a unit of the University of Puerto Rico. It supplies monkeys for use in studies of diseases that afflict people.

There have been no arrests. Authorities have launched an effort to recapture the monkeys.

Puerto Rico has long struggled with controlling wild monkeys that descended from escaped research monkeys.


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Women going ape over 'handsome gorilla'

shabani handsome gorilla
A brooding expression, rippling muscles, a lingering gaze ... and, er, a habit of beating his chest.

Shabani may be a little hairier than your average pin-up - and at 177 kgs, he's certainly a little heavier - but none of that has deterred humans of the fairer sex from flocking to admire the 'hunky' and 'handsome' gorilla.

His zoo has been flooded with young female visitors desperate for a glimpse of the 'buff' primate. And 18-year-old silverback Shabani doesn't seem to mind, playing up to his adoring audience by posing for pictures, staring pensively into the distance and showing off his muscular physique.

Takayuki Ishikawa, spokesman for Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, Japan, said: "Sometimes if you're taking photos it will look like he's posing for you like a model.


He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you. He is more buff than most gorillas and he's at his peak physically.

"We've seen a rise in the number of female visitors - women say he's very good-looking."


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Amazing Images Show What Looks Like Monkeys Domesticating Wild Wolves

In the alpine grasslands of eastern Africa, Ethiopian wolves and gelada monkeys are giving peace a chance. The geladas – a type of baboon – tolerate wolves wandering right through the middle of their herds, while the wolves ignore potential meals of baby geladas in favour of rodents, which they can catch more easily when the monkeys are present.

The unusual pact echoes the way dogs began to be domesticated by humans (see box, below), and was spotted by primatologist Vivek Venkataraman, at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, during fieldwork at Guassa plateau in the highlands of north-central Ethiopia.

Even though the wolves occasionally prey on young sheep and goats, which are as big as young geladas, they do not normally attack the monkeys – and the geladas seem to know that, because they do not run away from the wolves.

"You can have a wolf and a gelada within a metre or two of each other and virtually ignoring each other for up to 2 hours at a time," says Venkataraman. In contrast, the geladas flee immediately to cliffs for safety when they spot feral dogs, which approach aggressively and often prey on them.

When walking through a herd – which comprises many bands of monkeys grazing together in groups of 600 to 700 individuals – the wolves seem to take care to behave in a non-threatening way. They move slowly and calmly as they forage for rodents and avoid the zigzag running they use elsewhere, Venkataraman observed.


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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Chimpanzees have mental skills to cook, study finds

Chimpanzees have the mental abilities to cook, researchers say, and would choose to cook their food if given the opportunity.

Though chimps can’t heat up raw foods on their own—they can’t quite produce fire—scientists found that when presented with two containers—one with cooked food and one regular—the chimps almost always chose to eat their sweet potatoes hot and roasted, even if it meant they had to wait. They didn’t put any of the provided wooden pieces into the “cooker,” but they were found to be interested in carrying it further (across a room) to cook it rather than quickly begin to eat.

The results, newly published in Proceedings of Royal Society B, suggest that the primates understand the concepts of planning, cause-and-effect and delayed gratification—three mental abilities that are necessary to cook. The study sheds light on the scientific mystery of when and how humans first learned to cook. Scientists suggested in the past it had to do with learning to produce fire, and argue that cooking was a pivotal moment in humans’ physiological development, as the heated food is easier to digest.


Full story here.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Female gorilla dies after 'unprecedented' attack by young male at Australian zoo

A female gorilla at Melbourne zoo has died from injuries caused by one of the zoo’s young male gorillas in an unexpected display of aggression.

Julia, a 33-year-old gorilla, died on Sunday after suffering extensive trauma from the attack on Friday, the zoo said in a statement.

Otana, a 13-year-old Silverback male had previously shown some aggression towards female gorillas but zoo staff said the social dynamic between the gorillas had appeared to be working well.

It’s normal for Silverback to assert their dominance, according to the zoo, though the result of Otana’s aggression toward Julia was unexpected and unprecedented.

Melbourne zoo head vet Michael Lynch said Julia chose to spend part of Friday night away from the group and was moved to the veterinary hospital for examination on Saturday.

“The vet team examining Julia found that she had experienced extensive trauma and significant complications resulting from the aggression on Friday,” Lynch said.

Vets tried to stabilize her on Sunday, but were unsuccessful.


Full story here.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

France Zoo Searches For 17 'Extremely Rare' Stolen Monkeys

Police are searching for 17 rare monkeys stolen from a zoo in central France.

Thieves took seven golden lion tamarins and 10 silvery marmosets, which all belong to the Brazilian government, from the Beauval zoo on Saturday.

"These are extremely rare, extremely fragile monkeys," zoo director Rodolphe Delord said.

Concern is mounting for the health of the animals, which need special care and a specific diet.

Mr Delord said they had been stolen by "experts" who evaded security cameras and night patrols.

"It's an outrageous theft," he told Reuters news agency.


Full story here.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Monkeys Can Hack Each Other’s Grammar

Monkeys Can Hack Each Other’s Grammar
Language is one thing we do not share with other primates. While we humans have the ability to form words, our close relatives lack such finally tuned vocal control. Instead, like the majority of other animals, primates have evolved complex methods of conveying information, which range from grunts to body language to smell.

Now it seems that some species of monkey not only adjust the meanings of their calls using a simple grammatical trick, but other species know how to "translate" those calls to hack their neighbors' predator warning system. The finding hints at a universal system of communication among some monkeys that includes some of the basic tools of human language.



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Monday, April 27, 2015

Monkey Dropkicks Young Man After Flashing The Middle Finger At The Primate



Newly posted security camera footage, purportedly from the monkey-laden city of Shimla in Northern India, shows a primate teaching a young man a lesson: Animals don’t like being flicked off, either.

A couple of guys walk past the monkey in a market area of the capital city of the Himachal Pradesh state and the former British Raj summer capital in the video.

But, rather than passing by the animal like other pedestrians in the video, one of them motions at the monkey, causing it to jump up on a crate for a better view.


Full story here.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chimps Given Human Rights By U.S. Court For The First Time


On Monday, a New York judge granted two chimpanzees a writ of habeas corpus. In other words, the chimps have the right to a day in court -- under a law that only applies to people.

This isn't coming from nowhere: The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) has been trying to get chimps the rights of personhood for years. They represent the animals in court, arguing that their living situations -- as pets or performers -- should be considered as unlawful as the inhumane detention of a human.

Previous cases in the United States have failed to produce such a result, but in December an Argentinian orangutan won her case (which was of course actually brought to the court by animal rights activists) and was moved from a zoo to a sanctuary.


Full story here.
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wild Chimps Look Both Ways Before Crossing Roads



In a 29-month survey, researchers observed and recorded 20 instances of wild chimps crossing a busy road in Sebitoli, in the northern part of Uganda's Kibale National Park. They watched 122 chimps cross the highway used by 90 vehicles an hour, many speeding at 70 to 100 kilometres an hour.

It's the first report on how chimpanzees behave crossing a very busy asphalt road, says Marie Cibot of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. "We've described chimpanzee behaviour facing a dangerous situation never described before," she says, pointing out that earlier studies looked at narrower, unpaved and less busy roads.


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Gorilla Races Toward Girl, Cracks Zoo Exhibit Glass, Goes Viral



The footage, shot at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha on Thursday, begins by showing a little girl’s reflection as she pounds her chest. Soon, a gorilla in the enclosure races toward the glass and pounds it, leaving the glass cracked and sending people running.

“There was never any danger that the gorilla was going to get out or that people were going to get hurt,” the zoo’s general curator, Dan Cassidy, told The Post on Friday.


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1st Photo of Rare Monkey Proves It's Not Extinct

An African monkey thought to be extinct has been spotted again by researchers, who returned from a remote Congo forest in March with the first-ever photos of the rare red primate.

Until this year, scientists hadn't seen the Bouvier's red colobus monkey in the wild since the 1970s. The small primate lives in groups in swampy forests along the Congo River, in the Republic of the Congo. Hunting and logging decimated its population, leading some scientists to suggest the monkey was extinct.

Now, independent explorers have rediscovered the rare monkey. The researchers, Lieven Devreese of Belgium and Gaël Elie Gnondo Gobolo of the Republic of the Congo, set off in February to track down the elusive species. Their expedition was supported by donations collected through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, and funding from the Wildlife Conservation Society.


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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Inbreeding Makes Mountain Gorillas Genetically Healthy

...scientists have discovered inbreeding has actually benefitted mountain gorillas by removing many harmful genetic variations. They are also genetically adapted to living in small populations.

The authors of the findings, published in the journal Science, said it is the first project to sequence whole genomes from mountain gorillas.

"We worried that the dramatic decline in the 1980s would be catastrophic for mountain gorillas in the long term, but our genetic analyses suggest that gorillas have been coping with small population sizes for thousands of years," said lead author Dr Yali Xue, from the Sanger Institute.

"While comparable levels of inbreeding contributed to the extinction of our relatives, the Neanderthals, mountain gorillas may be more resilient. There is no reason why they should not flourish for thousands of years to come."


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Chimp Bats A Drone Straight Out Of The Air With A Stick



Flying a drone into a chimpanzee habitat to get some footage from previously unseen vantage points probably seemed like a good idea in theory. The thing that the people at the controls must’ve forgotten is that chimps would likely– and did– react unfavorably to a noisy whirligig flying all up in their personal space and getting all up in their business.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

New Monkey Species Revealed Thanks To Distinctive Penis

Meet the world's newest monkey. The white-cheeked macaque, Macaca leucogenys, has been discovered in south-eastern Tibet, in biodiverse yet poorly studied forests in the politically volatile area.

It is distinguished from the other four macaque species in the region by its rounded glans penis and a dark, hairy scrotum. Other macaques there have a spear-shaped glans penis and white scrotums. It also has thick, long hair around its neck, unlike the other four species.

It forages in a wide range of habitats, from tropical forests at an altitude of 1395 metres up to at 2700 metres in mixed forests of broad-leaves and conifers. The landscape of Tibetan state Modog, where it was found, encompasses low-lying grasslands, tropical and evergreen forests and alpine meadows, providing habitats for a great diversity of species.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gorilla Seems To Give Middle Finger To Another Gorilla During A Fight



A pesky gorilla at Busch Gardens Tampa won't take the hint. The animal keeps on bothering a fellow gorilla, then gets a piece of its mind.

One gorilla wants to play, repeatedly throwing a toy at the other gorilla. Meanwhile that other gorilla, seems like it'd rather not have toys thrown at it... so it holds up its middle finger. Point well made.


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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

New monkey species discovered in the Amazon rainforest

Scientists have discovered a new species of titi monkey in Brazil, according to a recent paper published in scientific journal Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia.

Titis are new world monkeys found across South America. These tree-dwelling primates have long, soft fur and live in small family groups consisting of a monogamous pair and their offspring. Rather touchingly, they are often observed sitting or sleeping with their tails entwined.

In 2011, researcher Julio César Dalponte spotted an unusual looking titi monkey on the east bank of the Roosevelt River, whose colouration did not match any known species. Intrigued, a team of scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP – a partnership between three NGOs, including Fauna & Flora International) headed back into the field to collect the information needed to formally describe what they believed to be a new species.


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Two Of Four Known AIDS Virus Groups Originated In Gorillas

Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) originated in western lowland gorillas, according researchers who conducted a comprehensive survey of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in African gorillas.

HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS, has jumped species to infect humans on at least four separate occasions, generating four HIV-1 lineages -- groups M, N, O, and P. Previous research from this team found that groups M and N originated in geographically distinct chimpanzee communities in southern Cameroon, but the origins of groups O and P remained uncertain.

The four cross-species transmissions have had very different outcomes in humans. Group M gave rise to the AIDS pandemic, infecting more than 40 million people worldwide by spreading across Africa and throughout the rest of the world. Groups N and P, at the other extreme, have only been found in a few individuals from Cameroon. However, group O, although not as widespread and prevalent as group M, has nonetheless infected about 100,000 people in west central Africa.


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Dangerous Bacteria Mysteriously Escapes From Louisiana Monkey Lab

How a potentially deadly strain of bacteria escaped from a primate research lab infecting four monkeys is a mystery, government officials said, but they added the incident poses no threat to the public.

The bacterium in question, burkholderia pseudomallei, is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and northern Australia, infecting humans and animals via contaminated soil and water entering the blood stream through cuts in the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana, which is studying the bacteria, reported that at least five rhesus macaques not used in studies were infected with the bug, possibly as early as November of last year, according to spokesman Michael Strecker.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Study: A New Twist On HIV Vaccines Shows Results In Monkeys

An effective vaccine for HIV has eluded researchers for several decades, due to the pathogen's infamous shape-shifting abilities.

Even though researchers have identified certain broadly neutralizing antibodies that can conquer multiple strains of the human immunodeficiency virus, many strains of rapidly mutating HIV remain resistant to the these super antibodies.

In recent years however, researches have proposed a new method of battling the virus that involves gene therapy.

Instead of using a vaccine to stimulate the body's own immune system, so that it produces HIV antibodies, scientists are bypassing the immune system entirely.

In experiments involving rats and monkeys, the researchers have used non-life-threatening viruses to alter the animals' genome so that its cells produce designer molecules capable of neutralizing HIV.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a team of researchers said they had used the technique to protect rhesus macaques from repeated intravenous injections of a SHIV, a combination of simian immunodeficiency virus and human immunodeficiency virus.


Full story here.
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Friday, February 06, 2015

Otters Eat Rare Monkey In Freak Accident At British Zoo

A British zoo says an endangered monkey that accidentally fell into a pond was eaten by otters.

Bristol Zoo Gardens say the rare golden lion tamarin monkey, a squirrel-sized species native to Brazil, was climbing on a branch when it fell and became trapped in the otter enclosure last month. The zoo said staff arrived too late to intervene.

The zoo made the statement after a whistleblower disclosed a series of animal deaths at the institution, including an endangered Visayan warty piglet that was eaten by its father shortly after it was born in December. The zoo said the male pig, Elvis, also attacked and killed the piglet’s mother.

The zoo’s director of conservation Christoph Schwitzer said despite their best efforts, keepers are unable to prevent unforeseen accidents.


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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Chimpanzees Change Accent To Fit In With Friends

Most people will find that their accents change subtly if they spend enough time in a different area or country.

But it seems the same is true of chimpanzees.

Scientists have discovered that when groups of chimps merge, they alter their accents until they are all grunting in the same manner.

The ability to modify vocalisations to fit in with social groups was believed to be a purely human trait until now.

"Our study shows that chimpanzee referential food calls are not fixed in their structure and that, when exposed to a new social group, chimpanzees can change their calls to sound more like their group mates," says Katie Slocombe of the University of York.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Monkey Mustaches And Beards Reveal Evolution of Facial Hair

Colorful monkeys called guenons sport moustaches, nose spots and ear tufts that make it easy to distinguish between different species of guenons. But to the average passers-by, monkeys of the same species might look strikingly similar.

But in a new study, researchers uploaded 541 photographs of 110 monkeys of 12 different guenon species. The scientists found that a computer algorithm could correctly identify these monkeys by their faces, as well as distinguish among species.

Scientists might be able to use algorithms like this one to study which factors are important in evolution, the researchers said. For instance, the algorithms could look at which aspects of a monkey's face are important to its evolutionary success.


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