Schmitt's hopes that studying the genetic loci in wild vervets, who do not become obese as often as those in captivity, will help understand how and why these genes evolved in primates.
Researchers studying a vervet research colony in Wake Forest, University of North Carolina noticed a group of monkeys gaining weight in captivity in 2004.
Grooming time also correlated with access to vervet
babies but not with fondling time or the degree of familiarity allowed.
Through innovative research begun in the 1960s by researcher and conservationist Tom Struhsaker, and through numerous subsequent studies by University of Pennsylvania primate biologist Dorothy Cheney and her Penn colleague and husband, psychologist Robert Seyfarth, our understanding about how vervet
monkeys communicate information about predators has been revolutionized.
are mentioned in appendix two of the CITES agreement as a species that can very soon become endangered if not properly monitored.
The downside of the experiment - on the Caribbean island of St Kitts - was that some Vervets
got a serious taste for the stuff.
More generally, are vervets
merely following a few simple rules?
Cheeky Monkey, the title of Sunday's Natural World documentary on BBC2, looks at the fascinating lives of the urban vervets
, capturing their faults and foibles in amusing detail.
A male vervet
monkey may use the shade of blue on another male's scrotum as a clue to status, according to new observations of monkey encounters.
As Hauser sees it, if chickens also give different kinds of alarm calls, "then either the psychological mechanisms underlying this communicative skill are less sophisticated than originally claimed or chickens have the same sorts of cognitive abilities as do vervets
Now, however, anthropologists at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) report that wild vervet
monkeys have "vocal repertoires [that] are far larger than originally believed." Moreover, computer analysis of the monkeys' specific "conversational" sounds reveals them to be surprisingly similar in some ways to human speech, according to the researchers.
monkeys of both sexes, weighing 2.0-6.0 kg, with males weighing between 4.05.0 kg, were recruited for the study.