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44 posts categorized "Monkeys, Apes, and Prosimians "

March 18, 2009

Monkeys may teach their babies how to floss

Primatologists think they've observed Thai monkeys demonstrating tooth flossing to their infants:

"I was surprised because teaching techniques on using tools properly to a third party are said to be an activity carried out only by humans,'' Professor Nobuo Masataka of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute said today.

His research team observed seven female long-tailed macaques and their offspring and monitored how often the mothers cleaned the spaces between their teeth with strands of human hair, in a colony of 250 animals near Bangkok.

The study found that the frequency of teeth-cleaning roughly doubled and became more elaborate when the infant monkeys were watching, suggesting that the females were deliberately teaching their young how to floss, he said. [Daily Telegraph]

The researchers plan to follow up with the baby monkeys to see if these flossing displays actually help them learn.

August 11, 2007

Marmoset soaks Johnny Carson

Watch Johnny Carson get soaked by a marmoset. Via cfrost.

August 08, 2007

Man couldn't keep marmoset under his hat

A man was questioned at New York's LaGuardia Airport after a marmoset crept out from under his hat.

When passengers noticed the fist-sized primate on the flight, they asked the man "if he knew he had a monkey on him", Ms Russell said. [BBC]

No one knows how the guy managed to fly out of Ft. Lauderdale with a marmoset in his cap. My guess is that the TSA screeners were too busy confiscating contact lens solution to notice that a non-human primate.

May 22, 2007

Monkey dies of plague at Denver zoo


April 27, 2007

The alcoholic vervets of St. Kitts

The alcoholic vervets of St. Kitts.


February 13, 2007

Feng shui for monkeys

Young Vervet monkey, originally uploaded by shashamane.

This is the stupidest thing I've heard in hours. I haven't heard anything this dumb since Instapundit's Farsi Ninja fantasy.

The LA zoo just spent $4500 on feng shui for monkeys:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Zoo paid $4,500 to an expert in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui to ensure three endangered golden monkeys on loan from China can have a strong life force.

Consulting the feng shui expert was part of the cost for a $7.4 million enclosure for the golden monkeys debuting at the zoo later his year. Feng shui focuses on balance in design to promote health and happiness.

Feng shui is in demand among high-end architects and interior designers, but Beverly Hills-based feng shui expert Simona Mainini said the Los Angeles Zoo's effort may be a first in animal enclosure design.

"It's very experimental," Mainini said. "We don't have any books on feng shui for monkeys. We just have to assume that Darwin is correct and that there is a connection and what is good for humans is good for monkeys." [AP]

I'm the first to agree that good design contributes to quality of life, but let's drop the mystical life force bullshit. Leave it to the primatologists and real architects to determine what kinds of enclosures are good for monkeys.

Note: The monkey shown here is a vervet, the monkeys who got feng shui are Chinese golden monkeys. I don't know if the LA zookeepers are assuming that feng shui works better for Chinese monkeys than it does for other primates.

February 12, 2007

Slate's Jack Shafer punk'd by monkey fishing story

Slate's Jack Shafer was forced to apologize to his readers after an writer admitted last week that a story about monkey fishing published in Slate in 2001 was entirely fabricated:

When two Columbia University graduate students in journalism began work earlier this month on an article about Jay Forman, a writer whose 2001 article in Slate about fishing for monkeys in Lois Key in Florida proved to be riddled with lies, their investigation prompted Mr. Forman to take new action. After long silence on the topic, last week he called Jack Shafer, his editor for that article, and admitted that he had fabricated the entire piece.

“He never took the boating trip to the key. The whole thing was an imagined fiction,” said Mr. Shafer by telephone.

At the time the article was published, Mr. Shafer was Slate’s deputy editor and was in the running to become its editor (the position instead went to Jacob Weisberg). After the article was questioned, Mr. Forman scaled back his account but still argued that it was essentially true.

Mr. Shafer, who is now Slate’s editor at large and writes a column on media criticism, published a brief account of this most recent disclosure last Tuesday and apologized to readers. [NYT]

Here's the original monkey fishing article, Kinsley's partial apology in 2001, and Shafer's full retraction.

November 16, 2006

Bonobo pulls fire alarm again

An bonobo chimpanzee pulled a fire alarm at an Iowa research facility for the second time in two months. The primate was reportedly upset that her keepers were too busy to let her out to play. [AP]

October 01, 2006

George Allen's presidential hopes dim

eyes, originally uploaded by Sara Heinrichs (awfulsara).

George Allen's presidential aspirations are waning.

September 10, 2006

Monkey mirrors human facial expressions

Baby monkey see...

Hat tip to Thad.