Featured monkeys for 2013
As 2013 closes, we’d like to introduce you to three of the monkeys who were favorites of the researchers this year, due to their social prowess and their spunk in surviving the trials of life: Pitufo (who has only one hand), Chaos, a female who made the bold move of joining a new social group when her mother and sister died, and Billie Holiday, a tiny orphan. All of them taught us new things about the behavioral flexibility and adaptability of this species. Your donations help us continue to monitor these monkeys’ lives and bring you news of their activities.
Be sure to also visit the “Monero Memories” section of this website, under “People” and then “Alumni,” to read vivid tales from past staff members of their favorite moments with the monkeys.
Group fusion: Pitufo’s and Chaos’ groups merge!
Pitufo was born in Pelon group in 1999, and throughout his juvenile phase, he was always a favorite because he played so nicely with the other monkeys and seemed to have such high social intelligence. We always predicted that he would do well in life because of his superior social skills. However, when he was 7 years old, he lost his left hand, presumably in a fight. He made an amazing recovery and retained popularity with the other monkeys, but he was the oldest male in our developmental study to still be living in the group in which he was born, where he helped his brother Oden retain alpha male status. However, towards the end of 2012 Pitufo surprised us all by becoming alpha male of Celeste’s group, which had recently split from a larger group. At first, Pitufo had no adult male rivals, but later he defeated his brother Power in a fierce struggle for the alpha spot. Power retreated to his established position as the alpha male of the small Cupie’s group.
Cupie’s group was also having a very difficult year, because two of the three adult females in this group had died recently, leaving the remaining female (Chaos) to take care of all of the immature offspring of her mother and sister, in addition to her own offspring. The tiny group had hostile neighbors on all sides and spent much time fleeing their neighbors. When Chaos’ male relatives decided to join Celeste’s group, she made the bold move of attempting to join Celeste’s group as well. This is the first time we had ever seen a group fusion: females normally live only with their own matrilineal kin and are hostile to all females from other groups. Not surprisingly, Chaos did not initially receive a warm welcome from Celeste’s family. But with time, the monkeys from both families worked out their initial relationship difficulties and are now a thriving social group. You can read more about the details of this simian social drama (and see photos and video) on Pitufo’s and Chaos’ Facebook pages (see the Adopt-a-Monkey portion of this website).
Billie Holiday, orphan
Some of you probably remember how little infant Billie was orphaned at age 6 months when her mother Boones disappeared from Flakes group at the end of 2011. Thanks in part to the devoted care of her cousin Edison and her father Quijote, this spunky little monkey is now thriving. She is still surprisingly tiny, but she stands up for herself when others try to bully her and has become a very competent forager. She is the youngest orphan to survive in this population.