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Absurd Monkey Project


Most takeovers occur during the 6-mo dry season and most conceptions occur in the wet season, 3–6 mo later. My findings support the major predictions of the sexual selection model of infanticide in primates and demonstrate that male takeovers of social groups have substantial effects on infant survival and maternal parturition patterns in Cebus capucinus. These models have rarely been investigated in species with exceptionally long male tenures, such as white-faced capuchins, where female mate choice for novel unrelated males may be important in shaping reproductive skew. We investigated reproductive skew in white-faced capuchins at Sector Santa Rosa, Costa Rica, using 20 years of demographic, behavioral, and genetic data.

This is the first of two papers examining male dispersal patterns in white-faced capuchins. Our study was based on behavioural and demographic data collected on multiple groups of white-faced capuchins in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica since 1985.

Further research is necessary in order to determine the mechanisms by which individuals develop sexual aversion to close kin. Through a combination of demographic records, maternal pedigrees, and genetically determined paternity, this study provides a detailed study of inbreeding and inbreeding avoidance in a well-studied mammal population.

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Monkey Project description

Urine washing rates were highest early in the morning and late in the afternoon, presumably when temperatures were coolest. We suggest that experiments with captive capuchins are necessary to resolve the issue of the function of urine washing in the taxon. Theory and a growing body of empirical evidence suggest that higher ranking males experience reproductive advantages in group-living mammals. Genetic paternity was determined from fecal samples for 120 infants born into three social groups of wild C.

We used weighted logistic regression and weighted least-squares regression to test these predictions using data from female white-faced capuchins, Cebus capucinus, and bonnet macaques, Macaca radiata. Only 5–7% of macaque grooming bouts, and 12–27% of capuchin grooming bouts, were reciprocated. However, (1) the duration of grooming by the first groomer significantly predicted whether the groomee would reciprocate at all, and (2) when bouts were reciprocated, the duration of grooming by the first groomer significantly predicted the duration of grooming by the second groomer. These results indicate that although some form of time matching may be a general characteristic of grooming in female-bonded primate species, time matching accounts for relatively little of the variation in the distribution of grooming within bouts. We also draw attention to weighted regression as a technique that avoids pseudoreplication while using all available data.

Monkey Project description

Social Influences on Foraging in Vertebrates: Causal Mechanisms and Adaptive Functions

Monkey Project description

(2) determining the mechanisms that lead to these biases, and (3) assessing the reliability of available cues of kinship and close genetic relatedness. I aim to understand how evolution has shaped partner preferences in capuchins, a species where close kin continue to be available as social partners across the lifespan. Since its onset in the early 1980s, our ongoing field study of the northern muriqui in southeastern Brazil has yielded original data on the behavioral ecology, reproductive biology, and life histories of one of the most critically endangered primates in the world. At the same time, a sixfold expansion in the size of our study population has provided insights into the plasticity of behavior and life history patterns that have important implications for muriqui conservation as well as for comparative models of primate socioecology. We also reiterate the need for more comparative studies of other muriqui populations, and reflect on the essential role that long-term, international collaborations have played in advancing the scientific and conservation agendas we have pursued from the start.

However, we found evidence that variation in Luehea candida processing is to some degree linked to both patterns of association and social rank. The potential influence of these variables on observed food processing patterns warrants further scrutiny.

Monkey Project description

However, area-wide census methods are time consuming, costly, and not always feasible under many field conditions. Therefore, it is important to establish whether monitoring a subset of a population accurately reflects demographic changes occurring in the population at large. Over the past 35 years, we have conducted 15 area-wide censuses in Sector Santa Rosa, Costa Rica. These efforts have revealed important trends in population growth patterns of capuchin monkeys following the protection and subsequent regeneration of native forests.

This study provides (1) evidence that capuchin monkeys avoid mating with close kin at both the level of parent-offspring and half sibling and (2) evidence of fitness costs to inbreeding in the form of delayed first age at reproduction. Interpopulation variability in patterns of food processing, similar to what is described as "traditional" or "cultural" variation in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), was identified in white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus). However, recent comparisons of food processing in capuchins were conducted only at the population level, with relatively little attention given to variability among groups, age/sex classes, or individuals. This paper examines variability in the processing of specific food types within the context of various social networks (i.e., patterns of association, rank, and kinship) among free-ranging Cebus capucinus at Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. We collected data on two groups of white-faced capuchins in 2001, identifying rates of "food interest" for each individual, as well as forms of processing for specific food types.

Monkey Project description

We define long-term studies as those that cover a significant part of the study species' life cycle; in reality, many studies have already extended over multiple generations. We first provide a brief overview of the historical beginnings of modern primate field studies, most of which lay in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Monkey Project description

"I love having toys in my home that double as teaching points. Both of my kids love their monkeys and we often talk about how they were created by artisans in Peru!"

These loci were screened in 23 other New World monkeys and an average of seven loci was variable per species, suggesting that these loci could be of use in studies of other Neotropical primates. In many species, call recipients respond to food-associated calls by approaching the signaller. For this reason, most studies of food-associated calls focus on the benefits to a signaller of attracting a particular audience to a food source. Although call recipients respond as if they have been informed about the location of a food source, it is not necessarily the case that the primary function of food-associated calls is to inform others. I combined naturalistic observations and food placement experiments to investigate the environmental and social influences on call production in white-faced capuchin monkeys to assess other possible functions of food-associated calls.

  • These models have rarely been investigated in species with exceptionally long male tenures, such as white-faced capuchins, where female mate choice for novel unrelated males may be important in shaping reproductive skew.
  • In this paper, I analyze the effects of male takeovers on infant mortality and the subsequent conceptions and interbirth intervals of their mothers over an 18-yr period and test predictions of the sexual selection model of infanticide for white-faced capuchins, (Cebus capucinus).
  • We collected data on two groups of white-faced capuchins in 2001, identifying rates of "food interest" for each individual, as well as forms of processing for specific food types.
  • Here we use over 30 years of behavioural, physiological, paternity, and demographic data collected on the Santa Rosa, Costa Rica, capuchin population to address the question of whether or not alpha male white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus imitator) are keystone individuals.

Male-male sniffing rates do not correlate with either aggression rate or dominance rank distance. Urine washing rates did not increase while subjects were in parts of their home range where more intergroup encounters occurred.

Results of observations of social interactions after food discovery indicated another possible function of food-associated calls. Individuals who called when they discovered food were less likely to be approached by others who were in visual contact than individuals who remained silent. Individuals who did not call when they discovered food were more likely to call subsequently if a higher-ranking, as opposed to a lower-ranking, animal approached them. Furthermore, individuals who called when approached by higher-ranking animals were less likely to receive aggression than individuals who did not call.

Monkey Project description

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Recipients looked significantly longer toward the call source and approached the speaker more often after hearing food-associated calls, as compared with control calls. Because these responses are not indicative of feeding, it is unclear whether listeners associated the calls with food. Nonetheless, these responses, specific to food-associated calls, may increase individuals' chances of finding food. Since early studies of primates that identified vocalizations that attracted others to a food source, the assumed function of food-associated calls has been to inform others of the presence of food. If calls occur exclusively in the context of feeding, information about individual identity would allow listeners to decide whether or not to approach a calling individual.

Monkey Project description

Alpha males produced far more offspring than expected by chance, and significantly high Nonac's B indices (a measure of deviation from a random distribution of RS among potentially breeding individuals) were a feature of six out of eight male tenures. The likelihood of the alpha male siring a particular offspring was predicted by the kin relationship between the mother and the alpha male, as well as the total number of males and females in the group. The almost complete lack of father-daughter inbreeding [Muniz et al., 2006] constitutes an impediment to alpha male reproductive monopolization in this population, particularly toward the end of long alpha male tenures. Sexual behavior by infecundable females, and by same-sex and adult-immature dyads, occurs in wild and captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). Proposed functions of these behaviors, in social primates generally, include practice, paternity confusion, exchange, and communication as well as appeasement.

These New World primates are social and gather in groups of up to two- or three-dozen animals. At night, these groups split up into smaller sleeping parties of a half dozen or fewer. Foraging also occurs in smaller groups, and is usually most intense early in the day. Spider monkeys find food in the treetops and feast on nuts, fruits, leaves, bird eggs, and spiders.

He is also the most active participant during encounters with predators and extragroup individuals. Using naturally occurring dispersal events, we assess the impact of the removal of an alpha versus subordinate adult male on group dynamics, specifically infant mortality.

We close this chapter by summarizing some of the unique insights about primate social systems and life history only made possible by the long-term nature of the studies, focusing on the chapters making up the remainder of this volume. The Lomas Barbudal Capuchin Project has been running for 29 years, and (funding permitting) will continue for many years to come. Each year we accept about 6 interns who stay a full year and participate in data collection. Virtually all monkeys are well habituated, and their genetic relationships are known, as well as social histories dating back several years in most cases.

The women are flourishing as they learn the value of working to earn a fair wage for their families; their income is adding capital into their communities; and in return, we are able to purchase hand-made, one-of-a-kind sock monkeys for kids and adults alike to love and enjoy. Socially maintained behavioural traditions in non-human species hold great interest for biologists, anthropologists and psychologists.

Monkey Project description

Only about 20% of 187 innovations identified were retained in innovators' individual behavioral repertoires, and 22% were subsequently seen in other group members. Older, more social monkeys were more likely to invent new forms of social interaction, whereas younger monkeys were more likely to innovate in other behavioral domains (foraging, investigative, and self-directed behaviors).

Evidence for such ‘triadic awareness’ has not been sought for platyrrhine primates, although two platyrrhine genera, capuchins, Cebus, and squirrel monkeys, Saimiri, are among the most highly encephalized primates. Analyses have shown that more dominant individuals are more likely to join aggressive coalitions than low-rankers, and that individuals preferentially support those with whom they have stronger affiliative relationships. Further analyses showed that soliciting dominant partners could be explained by either of two simpler rules, ‘Solicit an ally that outranks yourself’ or ‘Solicit the highest-ranking available individual’.

Monkey Project description

Infants that trilled when approaching others tended to interact affiliatively with them subsequently (i.e., climbing on, touching, receiving grooming, and performing food inspection) more than infants that did not trill when approaching. Therefore, infant trilling may have had an immediate effect on the recipient's behavior. The evolved functions, if any, of infant handling (IH) by female primates remain unclear for many species.