Science Diary: Monkeys – Habituate

Science Diary: Monkeys Habituate

Music; Ambience: Banana-seeking monkeys near ocean

TM: “It’s about 6:00. So they’ll probably on the roof and be obnoxious for a little while, and if no bananas come they’ll take off and go forage for bugs.”

JM: In Central and South America, an increase in human development means a decrease in the habitat for forest dwelling animals like monkeys. Now if a troop of monkeys becomes habituated to humans and learns to live off of hand-outs from people, is that good or bad for the monkeys? Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Primatologist Tracie McKinney studies Capuchin monkeys in the forests of Costa Rica.

TM: “The Curu Park is run by a local family, and they have been feeding the monkeys with bananas for about 40 years. With the Capuchins, we’re seeing that the monkeys who live near the house, and they are fed bananas and they eat out of the garbage, they seem to have an unusually high reproductive rate, and the amount of time a female takes after having one offspring, before she has her second offspring, seems to be a little bit shorter. What that means is their fertility is increased. They can have more baby monkeys in their lifetime than monkeys in the forest. That could be a very good thing for these monkeys, and they seem to be thriving in this habitat. The flip side of that though, is we’re also seeing a fairly high rate of territorial disputes and male turnover, which does often lead to infanticide. So if you’re having too many males taking over and if the male comes in and kills existing babies, the high fertility rate doesn’t really help you so much.”

JM: In Tracie McKinney’s study thus far, it’s a mixed blessing for monkeys who regularly get handouts from humans. There’s an increase in the birth rate, but there’s also an increase in the death of new babies. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Monkeys - Habituate

Feed a wild monkey, and you may alter its reproductive cycle.
Air Date:03/17/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Monkeys Habituate

Music; Ambience: Banana-seeking monkeys near ocean

TM: "It's about 6:00. So they'll probably on the roof and be obnoxious for a little while, and if no bananas come they'll take off and go forage for bugs."

JM: In Central and South America, an increase in human development means a decrease in the habitat for forest dwelling animals like monkeys. Now if a troop of monkeys becomes habituated to humans and learns to live off of hand-outs from people, is that good or bad for the monkeys? Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Primatologist Tracie McKinney studies Capuchin monkeys in the forests of Costa Rica.

TM: "The Curu Park is run by a local family, and they have been feeding the monkeys with bananas for about 40 years. With the Capuchins, we're seeing that the monkeys who live near the house, and they are fed bananas and they eat out of the garbage, they seem to have an unusually high reproductive rate, and the amount of time a female takes after having one offspring, before she has her second offspring, seems to be a little bit shorter. What that means is their fertility is increased. They can have more baby monkeys in their lifetime than monkeys in the forest. That could be a very good thing for these monkeys, and they seem to be thriving in this habitat. The flip side of that though, is we're also seeing a fairly high rate of territorial disputes and male turnover, which does often lead to infanticide. So if you're having too many males taking over and if the male comes in and kills existing babies, the high fertility rate doesn't really help you so much."

JM: In Tracie McKinney's study thus far, it's a mixed blessing for monkeys who regularly get handouts from humans. There's an increase in the birth rate, but there's also an increase in the death of new babies. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.