Monkeys – Capuchins

Science Diary: Monkeys – Capuchins

Music; Ambience: capuchin vocalizations

JM: In the forests of Central and South America, monkey populations are generally declining. But White-faced Capuchin monkeys are apparently doing better than most other species, and scientists are trying to find out why. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: “Capuchins seem to be adapting well simply because they’re smart. They’re arguably the smartest of all the monkeys.”

JM: Primatologist Tracie McKinney studies Capuchins in the forests of Costa Rica.

TM: “The reason they’re smart is that they’re extractive foragers. Extractive foraging means that they specialize on foods that you don’t see at first. They open termite mounds and they rob birds’ nests and they rip off bark to look for the insects underneath. And they open hard nuts and they really can kind of find these things that are hidden in the forest.
And to do that you have to be pretty bright, and so these animals realize that, you know, a trash can can be exploited, or that a new fruit might be something that they could eat. And the fact that they’re so intelligent gives them a little bit more flexibility than other primate species. The Costa Ricans call them Monos Bravos sometimes the brave monkeys or kind of belligerent monkeys. These Capuchins will get into your trash, they’ll get in your yard, they threaten people, they shake branches in your face. One day I was sitting on the ground, and four males came and surrounded me. And they made a little ring maybe three feet from me in any direction. And they threatened me and broke sticks and tried to be very, very scary.”

JM: It’s all in a day’s work for a primatologist. We’ll hear more about the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Monkeys - Capuchins

Inquisitive Capuchin monkeys brazenly forage for hidden sources of food.
Air Date:07/19/2016
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Monkeys - Capuchins

Music; Ambience: capuchin vocalizations

JM: In the forests of Central and South America, monkey populations are generally declining. But White-faced Capuchin monkeys are apparently doing better than most other species, and scientists are trying to find out why. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: "Capuchins seem to be adapting well simply because they're smart. They're arguably the smartest of all the monkeys."

JM: Primatologist Tracie McKinney studies Capuchins in the forests of Costa Rica.

TM: "The reason they're smart is that they're extractive foragers. Extractive foraging means that they specialize on foods that you don't see at first. They open termite mounds and they rob birds' nests and they rip off bark to look for the insects underneath. And they open hard nuts and they really can kind of find these things that are hidden in the forest.
And to do that you have to be pretty bright, and so these animals realize that, you know, a trash can can be exploited, or that a new fruit might be something that they could eat. And the fact that they're so intelligent gives them a little bit more flexibility than other primate species. The Costa Ricans call them Monos Bravos sometimes the brave monkeys or kind of belligerent monkeys. These Capuchins will get into your trash, they'll get in your yard, they threaten people, they shake branches in your face. One day I was sitting on the ground, and four males came and surrounded me. And they made a little ring maybe three feet from me in any direction. And they threatened me and broke sticks and tried to be very, very scary."

JM: It's all in a day's work for a primatologist. We'll hear more about the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.