Tag Archives: monkeys

Unlike people, monkeys aren’t fooled by expensive brands

In at least one respect, Capuchin monkeys are smarter than humans — they don’t assume a higher price tag means better quality, according to a new Yale study appearing in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology.

People consistently tend to confuse the price of a good with its quality. For instance, one study showed that people think a wine labeled with an expensive price tag tastes better than the same wine labeled with a cheaper price tag. In other studies, people thought a painkiller worked better when they paid a higher price for it. (more…)

Read More

Better Outlook for Dwindling Black Macaque Population in Indonesia

Since at least the 1970s, the population of critically endangered Sulawesi black macaques living in an Indonesian nature reserve has been dropping. But a new study by researchers at the University of Washington and in Indonesia shows that the population has stabilized over the past decade.

The findings, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Primatology, are from the longest ongoing survey of Macaca nigra and are among the first evidence that the monkeys may be in better shape. (more…)

Read More

From the Mouths of Monkeys: New Technique Detects TB

Tuberculosis can be a serious threat to monkeys and apes. A new technique for detecting the tuberculosis -causing bacteria could help in protecting the health of primate populations. The method can spot TB even among infected primates that show no outward sign of disease, but are still capable of spreading infection to others of their kind.

Existing tests for TB in primates are difficult to apply and give unreliable results, often failing to detect infections.

With the new approach, researchers obtained the first published evidence of TB pathogens in the mouths of Asian monkeys living near people. The study appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Primatology. Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a senior research scientist at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Washington, headed the international project. (more…)

Read More

Sorghum a Sweet Treat for Zoo Animals

Scraps from sweet sorghum harvested for biofuel production enrich the diets of elephants, monkeys, parrots and other animals in Tucson’ Reid Park Zoo.

This holiday season, animals in Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo get to munch on a rare treat: scraps from the University of Arizona’s research into renewable energy sources.

Researchers from the UA’s department of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who are growing sweet sorghum for the production of environmentally friendly biofuel, have found a new way of disposing of the leftovers without throwing them away. (more…)

Read More

Researchers Discover Oldest Evidence of Nails in Modern Primates

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — From hot pink to traditional French and Lady Gaga’s sophisticated designs, manicured nails have become the grammar of fashion.

But they are not just pretty — when nails appeared on all fingers and toes in modern primates about 55 million years ago, they led to the development of critical functions, including finger pads that allow for sensitive touch and the ability to grasp, whether it’s a nail polish brush or remover to prepare for the next trend. (more…)

Read More

Human Prejudice Has Ancient Evolutionary Roots

The tendency to perceive others as “us versus them” isn’t exclusively human but appears to be shared by our primate cousins, a new study led by Yale researchers has found. 

In a series of ingenious experiments, Yale researchers led by psychologist Laurie Santos showed that monkeys treat individuals from outside their groups with the same suspicion and dislike as their human cousins tend to treat outsiders, suggesting that the roots of human intergroup conflict may be evolutionarily quite ancient.  (more…)

Read More

People Aren’t Born Afraid of Spiders and Snakes: Fear Is Quickly Learned During Infancy

There’s a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren’t born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly. 

One theory about why we fear spiders and snakes is because so many are poisonous; natural selection may have favored people who stayed away from these dangerous critters. Indeed, several studies have found that it’s easier for both humans and monkeys to learn to fear evolutionarily threatening things than non-threatening things. (more…)

Read More