Tag Archives: Primates

How climate change will hurt humanity’s closest cousins

The consequences of climate change are an increasing concern for humans around the world. How will we cope with rising sea levels and climbing temperatures? But it’s not just humans who will be affected by these worldwide shifts — it’s our closest cousins, too: monkeys, apes and lemurs. A new Concordia study published in the […]

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‘Big mama’ bonobos help younger females stand up for themselves

Female bonobo coalitions more easily defeat aggressive males. Bullying happens in the primate world too, but for young bonobo females, big mama comes to the rescue. Japanese primatologists report in Animal Behaviour that older bonobo females frequently aid younger females when males behave aggressively towards them. “We may have uncovered one of the ways in […]

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Chimpanzees who travel are more frequent tool users

Chimpanzees who travel are more frequent tool users, according to new findings from the University of Neuchâtel and the University of Geneva, Switzerland, to be published in eLife. Hawa is a wild chimpanzee from the Budongo Forest in Uganda who burns up a lot of energy travelling, which he has learnt to replenish with a […]

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* The story of how a touch screen helped a paralyzed chimp walk again

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The case of Reo, a male chimpanzee that learned to walk again after being paralyzed due to illness, shows how much can be done to rehabilitate animals injured in captivity. So says lead author Yoko Sakuraba of Kyoto University, in an article in Primates, the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre published by Springer. […]

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* Monkeys in Brazil ‘have used stone tools for hundreds of years at least’

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New archaeological evidence suggests that Brazilian capuchins have been using stone tools to crack open cashew nuts for at least 700 years. Researchers say, to date, they have found the earliest archaeological examples of monkey tool use outside of Africa. In their paper, published in Current Biology, they suggest it raises questions about the origins […]

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Anthrax capsule vaccine completely protects monkeys from lethal inhalational anthrax

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Vaccination with the anthrax capsule–a naturally occurring component of the bacterium that causes the disease–completely protected monkeys from lethal anthrax infection, according to a study published online this week in the journal VACCINE. These results indicate that anthrax capsule is a highly effective vaccine component that should be considered for incorporation in future generation anthrax […]

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The primate brain is ‘pre-adapted’ to face potentially any situation

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Scientists have shown how the brain anticipates all of the new situations that it may encounter in a lifetime by creating a special kind of neural network that is “pre-adapted” to face any eventuality. This emerges from a new neuroscience study published in PLOS Computational Biology. Enel et al at the INSERM in France investigate […]

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Don’t feed the monkeys: Why your generosity is harming their health

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Tourists who feed wild monkeys in Morocco are risking the health of an endangered species by making them larger, more susceptible to disease, and more stressed, according to new research. Behavioral ecologists compared the health of two groups of wild Barbary macaques in Ifrane National Park in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco; one which spent nearly […]

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Great apes communicate cooperatively

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Gestural communication in bonobos and chimpanzees shows turn-taking and clearly distinguishable communication styles. Human communication is one of the most sophisticated signalling systems, being highly cooperative and including fast interactions. The first step into this collective endeavour can already be observed in early infancy, well before the use of first words, when children start to […]

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Quick test for Zika effectively detects virus in monkeys

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A novel, inexpensive method for detecting the Zika virus could help slow spread of outbreak, and potentially other future pandemic diseases An international, multi-institutional team of researchers led by synthetic biologist James Collins, Ph.D. at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, has developed a low-cost, rapid paper-based diagnostic system for strain-specific […]

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Rough childhoods have ripple effects for wild baboons

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Numerous studies have shown that childhood trauma can have far-reaching effects on adult health and survival; new research finds the same is true for wild baboons. People who experience childhood abuse, neglect and other hallmarks of a rough childhood are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and other health problems later in life, even […]

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How a macaque’s brain knows it’s swinging

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Any organism with a brain needs to make decisions about how it’s going to navigate through three-dimensional spaces. That’s why animals have evolved sensory organs in the ears to detect if they’re rotating or moving in a straight line. But how does an animal perceive curved motion, as in turning a corner? One explanation, published […]

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Despite their small brains, ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps, research suggests

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A study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden suggests that ravens can be as clever as chimpanzees, despite having much smaller brains, indicating that rather than the size of the brain, the neuronal density and the structure of the birds’ brains play an important role in terms of their intelligence. “Absolute brain size […]

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* Canine influenza transmitted to cats in Midwestern shelter

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It may be called canine influenza, but Sandra Newbury, clinical assistant professor and director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, has confirmed that the virus that sickened a large number of dogs in the Midwest last year has now infected a group of cats in the region. […]

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Three new primate species discovered in Madagascar

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Immunotherapy with a live bacterium combined with chemotherapy demonstrated more than 90% disease control and 59% response rate in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), according to the results of a phase Ib trial presented today at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. “Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the […]

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Genomes of chimpanzee parasite species reveal evolution of human malaria

Understanding the origins of emerging diseases — as well as more established disease agents — is critical to gauge future human infection risks and find new treatment and prevention approaches. This holds true for malaria, which kills more than 500,000 people a year. Symptoms, including severe anemia, pregnancy-associated malaria, and cerebral malaria, have been linked […]

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* Monkeys drive wheelchairs using only their thoughts

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Neuroscientists at Duke Health have developed a brain-machine interface (BMI) that allows primates to use only their thoughts to navigate a robotic wheelchair. The BMI uses signals from hundreds of neurons recorded simultaneously in two regions of the monkeys’ brains that are involved in movement and sensation. As the animals think about moving toward their […]

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Novel small-molecule antiviral compound protects monkeys from deadly Ebola virus

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Rhesus monkeys were completely protected from Ebola virus when treated three days after infection with a compound that blocks the virus’s ability to replicate. These encouraging preclinical results suggest the compound, known as GS-5734, should be further developed as a potential treatment, according to research findings published in the journal Nature. Ebola virus causes severe […]

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* Magnetoreception molecule found in the eyes of dogs, primates

Dog-like carnivores, some primate species may have a magnetic compass similar to that of birds. Cryptochromes are light-sensitive molecules that exist in bacteria, plants and animals. In animals, they are involved in the control of the body’s circadian rhythms. In birds, cryptochromes are also involved in the light-dependent magnetic orientation response based on Earth’s magnetic […]

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Proposal to ban imported monkeys catches scientists off guard

Nicholas Price works to understand the brain’s fundamental functions, with a view towards developing a bionic eye. The neuroscientist uses marmosets and macaques in his experiments at Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute in Melbourne. In late January, he was shocked to discover a bill before the Australian Parliament that calls for a ban on the […]

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Experimental Ebola antibody protects monkeys

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues have discovered that a single monoclonal antibody–a protein that attacks viruses–isolated from a human Ebola virus disease survivor protected non-human primates when given as late as five days after lethal Ebola infection. The antibody can […]

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Toxoplasmosis: Morbid attraction to leopards in parasitized chimpanzees

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Researchers from the Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (CNRS/Université de Montpellier/Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3/EPHE) have shown that chimpanzees infected with toxoplasmosis are attracted by the urine of their natural predators, leopards, but not by urine from other large felines. The study, published on 8 February 2016 in Current Biology, suggests that parasite manipulation by […]

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You scratch my back and I might scratch yours: The grooming habits of wild chimpanzees

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Bystanders can influence the way adult male chimpanzees establish grooming interactions according to research by anthropologists at the University of Kent. The results challenge existing theories and bring into question the long-held assumption that patterns of social interactions in chimpanzees and other primates reflect relationships that themselves indicate a level of trust between individuals. The […]

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Effectiveness of a herpesvirus CMV-based vaccine against Ebola

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This study represents a crucial step in the translation of herpesvirus-based Ebola virus vaccines into humans and other great apes. As the latest in a series of studies, researchers at Plymouth University, National Institutes of Health and University of California, Riverside, have shown the ability of a vaccine vector based on a common herpesvirus called […]

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* New way to detect human-animal diseases tested in lemurs

Advances in genetic sequencing are uncovering emerging diseases in wildlife that other diagnostic tests can’t detect. In a study led by Duke University, researchers used a technique called whole-transcriptome sequencing to screen for blood-borne diseases in wild lemurs, distant primate cousins to humans. The animals were found to carry several strains or species of parasites […]

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To find energy-rich food, like tropical ripe fruit, is a challenge for chimpanzees

In our supermarkets we buy raspberries in winter and chestnuts in summer. But how challenging would life become, if we needed to consume large amounts of fruit for our daily meal and had to collect them ourselves? With a largely plant-based diet, simple stomachs, and the additional cost of maintaining relatively large brains, chimpanzees face […]

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Monkeys’ reaction to those who have more? Spite

Monkeys, like humans, will take the time and effort to punish others who get more than their fair share, according to a study conducted at Yale. In fact, they can act downright spiteful. Capuchin monkeys will yank on a rope to collapse a table that is holding a partner monkey’s food. While chimpanzees collapse their […]

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Gene controls stress hormone production in macaques

Some people react more calmly in stressful situations than others. Certain genes, such as the so-called COMT gene, are thought to play a role in determining our stress response. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Vienna have now studied this gene in macaques, a genus of Old World monkeys, and for the […]

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Humans probably not alone in how we perceive melodic pitch

Marmosets shed light on our evolutionary history, become model for studying musical ability tone deafness. The specialized human ability to perceive the sound quality known as ‘pitch’ can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report new behavioral evidence that marmosets, ancient monkeys, appear to use auditory cues similar to […]

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Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause infectious gastroenteritis or diarrhea in humans. “If you are a bat, you have bat astrovirus, but if you […]

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