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Seriously Freakin’ Clever Monkeys

April 2, 2010

Just finished watching the most astonishing PBS Nature show called Clever Monkeys. It aired for the first time last year, but I just caught it now and couldn’t look away. There are: monkeys that eat charcoal from human campfires in order to absorb toxins from plants in their diets; monkeys that farm sap; monkeys that “cry wolf” in order to scare other monkeys in their group away from a choice morsel of food; and monkeys that use grammar.

Good thing Theo fell asleep right before the baboon felled a baby gazelle. Did you know that beta baboons suffer from ulcers and high blood pressure as a result of their low status in society and the stress that naturally follows and that baboon alpha males once deposed sink in to despondency and depression? Apparently, researchers think that baboon society and behavior is the closest to human of all monkeys. Great. Just great.

The Gelada Baboons were the most intense of all. Living in the Ethiopian Highlands, they are the last of the grass grazing primates and they are huge, and fluffy, and do the craziest teeth-baring thing you’ve ever seen when they are issuing a warning. They also vocalize more than most monkeys and sound as thogh they are speaking words as a result.

I was just astounded by the variety in appearance of all these little and not so little primates. There is one that lives in the savanna and I swear looks just like an ewok. Or, I should say, an ewok looks like him. Nothing new under the sun, but still so much to discover.


From → nature

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