Monkeys Make The Same Bad Gambling Decisions That Humans Do

Humans have a remarkable ability to see patterns where none exist. In the hot-hand phenomenon we perceive streaks of wins or losses where the data, in truth, are random. New research shows that monkeys are subject to the same bias, which might suggest that the bias is evolutionarily adaptive, and maybe even rational. » 7/01/14 10:40am 7/01/14 10:40am

China Commands an Army of Trained Monkeys

There has been a long tradition of employing animals in military operations. The latest example might be China's troop of macaque soldiers. » 5/06/14 7:01pm 5/06/14 7:01pm

Are any animals truly monogamous?

As Henry Reich explains in this installment of Minute Earth, yes, monogamy does exist in the animal kingdom – though fewer creatures practice it than you probably realize. » 2/19/14 4:00pm 2/19/14 4:00pm

These Monkeys Always Give Birth to Twins – How Do They Do It?

Unlike all other primates, clawed New World Monkeys almost always give birth to twins. But why? It turns out these animals have a unique set of adaptations that make it possible — and could prove useful to humans as well. » 12/31/13 7:30am 12/31/13 7:30am

Monkeys Remember "Words" Used by Their Ancestors Centuries Ago

In the mid-1600s, green monkeys from Africa were introduced to the West Indies island of Barbados. Despite living a predator-free life for centuries, the Barbados population still responds to an ancestral alarm call that means, roughly translated, “Run up a tree or a leopard will eat you!” » 10/30/13 7:40am 10/30/13 7:40am

Are Humans Hardwired to Detect Snakes?

The “snake detection theory” holds that snakes played a significant role in the evolution of humans and other primates. They molded our brains, shaped our visual systems, and helped us survive. Now there is new evidence to back up this unusual theory, which explains both our agile minds and our uncanny ability to… » 10/29/13 11:00am 10/29/13 11:00am

Marmosets Have Conversations That Sound Strikingly Human

Marmosets are fluffy, 8-inch-long monkeys native to South America. They are also very polite. New research shows that these little mammals carry on lengthy, back-and-forth discussions without interrupting one another. This is a conversation style adopted by only one other kind of primate: humans. » 10/17/13 12:10pm 10/17/13 12:10pm

Evidence that wild orangutans are scary smart

Humans pride ourselves on our ability to make plans for the future. But it turns out that we're not the only animals who think ahead. Scientists have observed wild orangutans planning their travel routes a day in advance, and communicating their itinerary to community members. » 9/13/13 11:56am 9/13/13 11:56am

How did monogamy evolve?

From an evolutionary standpoint, monogamy doesn't seem to make much sense – especially for males. And yet, it's practiced by a significant number of mammalian species, including humans. Now, in a fantastic example of science in progress, two newly published studies with divergent conclusions seek to explain why. » 7/30/13 12:07pm 7/30/13 12:07pm

Like humans, chimps and orangutans remember their past

Sometimes a particular smell, flavor or other sensory cue can trigger a flood of distant memories. New research shows chimpanzees and orangutans have similar capacities for this kind of episodic memory — they're able to accurately recall an event that happened three years prior. The results suggest, once again, that… » 7/18/13 1:20pm 7/18/13 1:20pm

Primates shows us what it takes to make it as a scientist

Whether you're looking for a graphic novel about the early breakthroughs in primate research, an account of the rigors of fieldwork, or just a scientific version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Louis Leakey as a slightly horny Willy Wonka, this is the book for you. » 7/08/13 6:20am 7/08/13 6:20am

1 in 13 humans has chimp-like feet

When our ancient ancestors left their arboreal homes, they ditched their flexible feet for rigid tootsies best suited for walking on the ground. But according to a new study, 1 out of every 13 people may have bendy, tree-ready feet, without even knowing it. » 5/31/13 1:20pm 5/31/13 1:20pm

Fossils reveal the evolutionary split between monkeys and apes

Scientists have discovered fossils of two newfound primate species, dating back to 25 million years ago. One fossil belongs to the group that contains great apes (hominids), while the other is from the group that includes Old World monkeys. The discovery may mark the moment when our primate ancestors first diverged… » 5/16/13 11:40am 5/16/13 11:40am

When chimps have a midlife crisis

While they're perhaps less likely to take up paragliding or get an ill-advised tattoo, it appears that other primates suffer from midlife crises just like Homo sapiens. A new study of chimps and orangutans found that they have a major dip in well-being during their middle years. » 11/23/12 7:00am 11/23/12 7:00am

Conservationists announce the world's 25 most-endangered primates

Today, at the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity, researchers with the International Union for Conservation of Nature unveiled a report detailing the world's 25 most endangered primates — mankind's most biologically similar living relatives. » 10/15/12 7:30am 10/15/12 7:30am

Primate portraits invite you to see apes as individuals

Much like us, our hairier cousins have their own distinct facial features, unique combinations of jawlines, eye shapes, and nasal widths that make them recognizable on sight. But have you ever studied the differences between other primates' faces? » 5/06/12 3:00pm 5/06/12 3:00pm

Do girls naturally prefer dolls to trucks? Evidence from 2 primate…

Are gender roles in-born, or are they imprinted upon us? Science blogger Paul F. Norris went searching for answers in the scientific literature and came up with two incredible studies... one on rhesus monkeys, and the other on chimpanzees. What he discovered sheds some thought-provoking light on the nature/nurture… » 1/26/12 12:18pm 1/26/12 12:18pm

Orangutans reveal the evolutionary purpose of happiness

Happiness may make us feel good - indeed, that's sort of the point - but does it actually serve a clear evolutionary purpose, or is it just an accidental byproduct of some other adaptation? Some long-lived orangutans have the answer. » 6/29/11 1:00pm 6/29/11 1:00pm

Why are chimps hunting red colubus monkeys to death?

Time is running out for the red colubus monkey, which lives in Uganda's Kibale National Park. Chimpanzees appear to be huntings these poor guys to death. It's the first time that one primate species has overhunted another, without humans being involved. » 5/18/11 11:00am 5/18/11 11:00am

Barfing big-nosed monkeys like to eat their meals twice

Proboscis monkeys are unlike any other primates. The males' noses are almost four inches long - because females find it sexy, naturally. Plus, they're the only primates to throw up their half-digested food and eat their meals all over again. » 3/30/11 10:41am 3/30/11 10:41am