Just before the death of a baby capuchin monkey, a cry was heard from the trotops. Soon, some of the baby’s relatives gathered to eat the dead body – the scientists found it all.
This particular population of white-faced cappuccino was observed by researchers Monkeys (Sebas imitation) Has been documenting her life in Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica for over 37 years. In all those years, scientists have never reported cannibalism among monkeys; But everything changed on April 9, 2019.
The group described the horrific incident in a new report published in the October 16 issue Environment and evolution.
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While observing a small group of monkeys, the scientists heard loud noises from a nearby tree. A 10-day-old monkey known as CT-19 fell to the ground and a mother called CT went down to collect the baby. CT-19 clung to her stomach and CT tried to carry the baby back to the trotops, but the baby fell twice and could no longer hang over the mother. The CT-19 was immobile for a few minutes, and soon other monkeys gathered around to examine the body.
Warning: The following is a graphic description of what happened next.
A 2-year-old man arrived at the scene and began kneeling at the dead monkey’s feet. “Although CT made no attempt to retrieve the body, she remained vigilant,” the authors wrote. A 23-year-old alpha girl then pulled the corpse out of the young man and looked at God eagerly, starting from the left foot; Half an hour later, the female ate the entire lower half of the baby, leaving only the head, chest, and arms.
During this party the juvenile male was able to steal with a little tail, but the Alpha Pen stole most of the CT-19. Technically, the male was the second auxin of CT-19, and the authors wrote that the alpha was the grandmother of the baby.
The authors suggest that before the death of this young capuchin, only eight cannibals were observed in Central and South American primates. In primates, in general, rare cases of cannibalism kill the coin in relation to infanticide by unrelated adults. In other cases, close relatives may eat a baby after natural death.
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In this case, there is reason to believe that CT-19 was the victim of infanticide, the authors wrote.
“The adult male PW followed an adult female from the same area shortly after the scream and the baby fell to the ground,” the authors wrote. Previous observations Although scientists have not yet witnessed how or why CT-19 fell, they suspect that the adult male PW may have pushed or attacked the baby after witnessing the infanticide.
White-faced Capuchin monkeys usually eat plants and small animals such as lizards, antelopes and birds. When an animal catches its prey, the animal will begin by biting its face, thus quickly silencing the animal and avoiding self-bite; Capuchins usually use whole animals individually or in groups. The monkeys behaved quite differently when eating one of their own; Only two monkeys participated in the diet, and they did not touch the entire top of the god.
Most of the other monkeys nearby examined the carcass alone, or gave threatening gestures, which the authors wrote was “an unusual situation for capuchins.”
A few monkeys turning to cannibals may have done so for nutritional value, the authors suggested. About two weeks after the CT-19 snack, Alpha Penn gave birth to her own baby, which means she was in the final stages of pregnancy at the time of the incident. The juvenile male had recently been weaned from his own mother, i.e. he had begun to defend himself when he fell from the CT-19 tretops.
These conditions indicate that capuchins turn to cannibals when supplemental nutrients are needed, but this is only a theory, as primate cannibalism is rarely observed. Further case reports of primate cannibals need to be evaluated to determine exactly why monkeys engage in this behavior, the authors concluded.
Originally published in Live Science.
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