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A few days ago, Upworthy posted a video (via The Dodo), featuring animals being let out of cages for the first time. It’s- as they say- “heartmelting”. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/UpworthyVideo/videos/768458243258725/?fref=nf
I was most struck by the chimpanzees in the video, who were let outside after thirty years of confinement in a laboratory. At 0:38 into the video, the chimps see the sky for the first time and hug each other, and I totally did not start crying at this point, at all. I was truly moved by what I was seeing, so I decided to hunt down the original video of the chimpanzees, so I could see their whole story. Here it is, in it’s entirety.
“A few of these chimps were born in captivity but most were kidnapped from African jungles as babies and flown to Europe, where they were locked in metal laboratory cages to be used in a long series of experiments. Their ordeal finally ended when 38 chimps were released into a sanctuary in Austria called Gut Aiderbichl, allowing them to feel the nurturing contact of their fellow chimps after years of being separated by bars and bullet-proof glass. ” -From the Youtube Video Page (username: EVOLVE campaigns)
Happy Monk(Ape)day :_)
A rhesus macaque monkey is having her 15 minutes of fame, after adopting a puppy, and raising him on the busy streets of New Delhi, India. She treats him like her own child: taking him wherever she goes, feeding him, and even protecting him from stray dogs, attesting to the strong nature of a mother’s instincts. This pair is truly adorable together.
Thanks to CCTV News for their video, and ZeeNews for breaking the story to the world.
Happy Monkday :_)
It’s been twelve days since my last post. I’m getting more and more comfortable living here in Maryland, especially with my roommates, who are becoming more like family everyday. Here to demonstrate, are a kitteh, a doggeh, and a monkeh, who are just about the best of friends. What Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers has to do with them… I’m not sure, I just know that I like it. ^_^
Happy Monkday :_)
An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a black macaque monkey took with Slater’s equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes the animal’s self-portrait isn’t bound by copyright law. The man who owns the camera equipment feels differently.
The dispute stems from 2011, when Slater’s wildlife photography field trip to Indonesia produced a striking image of a smiling crested black macaque; another image shows it holding the camera. The story went viral, with Slater explaining that a group of macaques had taken over his equipment for a bit during the three days he spent in their company.
As he told The Telegraph back then, ”one of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy. At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection. They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button.”
Slater added that the primates took hundreds of photos, most of them out of focus. By far the most famous of them was the grinning female macaque’s “selfie” that was then licensed for use by many media outlets.
The Telegraph gave us an update on the story this week, saying Wikimedia had refused to change the image’s open-copyright classification. Slater tells the newspaper that he went through a great deal of effort and money to get the photo, noting that he traveled to the area and set up the camera.
“That trip cost me about £2,000 for that monkey shot,” he says. “Not to mention the £5,000 of equipment I carried, the insurance, the computer stuff I used to process the images.”
The folks at Wikimedia don’t agree that Slater is the photo’s author, and they refused his request to remove the image from the Wikimedia Commons section for open-source material.
Perhaps you’re thinking that if Slater doesn’t own the photo’s copyright, then the monkey does. But as GigaOM reports, “the editors at Wikimedia (which manages the library of more than 22 million images and videos associated with the open-source encyclopedia) rejected the photographer’s demands because they believe that no one holds the copyright. A monkey can’t hold the rights to an image, or anything else, for that matter, because they aren’t human, and therefore don’t have the legal standing required to do so.”
Slater notes that a court case might be the only way to resolve the authorship and ownership issues. If that occurs, it’s unlikely that the macaque would be represented in the proceedings, or in the debate its brief career as a photographer has set off.
Happy Monkday :_)
A team of scientists from around the world led by Baylor College of Medicine in Waco, Texas, and Washington University in St. Louis. Missouri, has completed the genome sequence of the common marmoset, the first sequence of a New World Monkey, providing new information about the marmoset’s unique rapid reproductive system, physiology and growth, shedding new light on primate biology and evolution, and how they compare with humans.
The team published the work in the journal Nature Genetics.
“We study primate genomes to get a better understanding of the biology of the species that are most closely related to humans,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rogers, associate professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor and a lead author on the report. “The previous sequences of the great apes and macaques, which are very closely related to humans on the primate evolutionary tree, have provided remarkable new information about the evolutionary origins of the human genome and the processes involved.”
With the sequence of the marmoset, the team revealed for the first time the genome of a non-human primate in the New World monkeys, which represents a separate branch in the primate evolutionary tree that is more distant from humans than those whose genomes have been studied in detail before. The sequence allows researchers to broaden their ability to study the human genome and its history as revealed by comparison with other primates.
The sequencing was conducted jointly by Baylor and Washington University and led by Dr. Kim Worley, professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center, and Rogers at Baylor, and Drs. Richard K. Wilson, director, and Wesley Warren of The Genome Institute at Washington University, in collaboration with Dr. Suzette Tardif of The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and the Southwest National Primate Research Center.
Happy Monkday :_)
After analyzing thousands of wild chimp-to-chimp gestures, University of St. Andrews researchers believe that they have translated the meanings of thirty-six chimpanzee gestures used to communicate.
According to the researchers, this is the first time that another animal communication system has been found to have meaning. Furthermore, this novel information may also offer an insight into the evolution of human language. The study has been published in Current Biology.
While previous research has found that apes and monkeys are able to understand information conveyed by the call of another animal, it did not appear that voices were used intentionally to communicate messages. This is the crucial difference between calls and gestures, lead researcher Catherine Hobaiter told BBC News, since chimps use gestures as a communication system to convey messages to others.
“That’s what’s so amazing about chimp gestures,” said Hobaiter. “They’re the only thing that looks like human language in that respect.”
In order to conduct this study, Hobaiter spent 18 months observing a group of wild chimpanzees in the Budongo rainforest in Uganda. She and colleague Richard Byrne then analyzed more than 4,500 chimp exchanges in order to decipher what the gestures could mean.
They found that chimpanzees use sixty-six gestures to deliberately communicate nineteen different meanings. The researchers were also able to assign true meanings for thirty-six of these gestures. For example, if the chimps wanted to play, they would stomp both feet, or if they wanted contact they would hug the air.
Some of the gestures were used to convey only one meaning, such as leaf clipping which is used to elicit sexual attention, whereas others were more ambiguous and could have several meanings. Grabbing another chimp, for example, is used to communicate: “Stop that,” “Climb on me,” and “Move away.” Furthermore, several different gestures could also be used for one meaning.
“What we’ve shown is a very rich system of many different meanings,” Byrne told Wired. “We have the closest thing to human language that you can see in nature.”
The researchers acknowledge that their study was limited by the fact that they could only assign meanings to gestures that provoked an action, meaning that there are probably many more subtle gestures that cannot be interpreted. Furthermore, it has been pointed out that the vague nature of some of the meanings likely means that we are missing a lot of information contained within these gestures.
Still, the researchers are confident that their work has merit.
“The big message is that there is another species out there that is meaningful in its communication, so that’s not unique to humans,” said Hobaiter. “I don’t think we’re quite as set apart as we would perhaps like to think we are.”
Happy Monk(ape)day :_)