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April 27, 2007

The alcoholic vervets of St. Kitts

The alcoholic vervets of St. Kitts.

[HT: DJA]

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Now I don't feel so bad.

Yep, sure enough. Boozing vervets. Here’s the popular and academic press skinny on the rummy monkeys of St. Kitts.
The vervets, or green monkeys, Chlorocebus (Cercopithecus) aethiops) living on St. Kitts-Nevis and Grenada were brought there by the slavers centuries ago. Grenada is also the home of another monkey, the beautiful mona guenon, Chlorocebus (Cercopithecus) mona, likewise shipped to the New World with the slaves.
Recently two species of monkey, the incredibly cool greyhound of monkeys, the patas or hussar monkey Erythrocebus (Cercopithecus) patas and the rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta have swam ashore to the Puerto Rican mainland from experimental island colonies set up by the Caribbean Primate Research Center and have established self-sustaining, though yet small, populations.
Go here for descriptions and pictures of the various monkey species.
There were once at least three native monkeys in the Caribbean: Paralouatta varona, Xenothrix mcgregori, and Antillothrix bernensis, on Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola respectively, that persisted probably until humans arrived. Just how they got there is a biogeographical conundrum. The consensus seems to be that they rafted to the islands from the American mainland. The Arawaks probably gobbled them up along with other prehistoric West Indian fauna such as ground sloths and giant owls.

Could you please re-post the link for the academic press behind this? I'm very interested in reading it!

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