infant monkeys


In 1926, psychologist Sigmund Freud theorised that infants develop an attachment to their caregivers due to what he called ‘cupboard love’- the idea that the infant becomes attached simply because that individual fulfills its need for food. Harry Harlow’s experiment with infant macaque monkeys seem to show a different and somewhat heartwarming reality.

Harlow took new-born macaque monkeys and placed them in cages with “surrogate” mothers. As shown above, one mother was made of wire with an attached feeding bottle whilst the other was made of a soft and cuddly cloth yet no feeding bottle. If the ‘cupboard love’ theory was correct, the baby monkeys would remain with the mother that provided food.

This was not the case, however. For the duration of the experiment, the macque monkeys spent the majority of their time with the cloth mothers, who they also instinctively clung to when frightening looking objects were placed in their cage. This experiment showed the great importance of contact comfort in developing strong bonds between a child and their parents. Contemporary advice from psychologists and doctors had warned parents against rocking or picking up a crying child but the results of this experiment were so conclusive they changed the approach to parenting in the western world.

Photo by @TimLaman on assignment for @NatGeo at the International Animal Rescue center in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.  These baby orangutans are being cared for at this center, and are being taken by wheelbarrow from their night cages to a forest play area where they will spend their day learning skills to survive in the wild. Unfortunately, many baby orangutans are still kept illegally as pets, and obtained by killing their mothers in the wild.  When confiscated, they end up at centers like this that do their best to care for them and train them for living in the wild some day.  It is a severe challenge, but some of them may make it to live in the wild. #Borneo, #Orangutan, @TimLaman@thephotosociety

Happy Lunar New Year! We’re celebrating the Year of the Monkey by highlighting some amazing Asian monkey species. 

This striking fellow is an adult male proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), also called the long-nosed monkey or bekantan in Indonesian. Male proboscis monkeys use their fleshy, pendulous noses to reverberate loud bellowing noises that attract mates or warn others of predators. Infant proboscis monkeys are born with bright blue faces and black fur!

Proboscis monkeys eat mostly leaves, seeds, and unripe fruits, and sometimes insects. They are only found on the island of Borneo and are endangered with extinction because of deforestation and hunting.

Learn more about Asian primates at our February 21 event, Spotlight Asia: Ring in the Year of the Monkey. 

Hi my names Klam, I’m 23, English and yes that is a blind infant vervet monkey with his finger knuckle-deep up my nose. He’s called Liam and I was his surrogate mother over the summer as part of a placement in South Africa.

Aaaanyway, come say hi!

anonymous asked:

Hello! I read probably in your blog about how animals don't really long for maternity so sterilizing them doesn't affect them that much. Now I am curios as to why some animals adopt and raise babies that aren't theirs, even if they are from an entirely different species. Are there some common factors like previous maternity or being domesticated or something? Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world :)

Mm, well, you probably didn’t read that on my blog even though I agree with the idea behind it.

If you were to ask me, longing for “maternity” isn’t an emotion an animal would feel in the same way that it would feel hunger or thirst or the desire to mate. An animal is unlikely to conceptualize, “Gosh, I really want babies.” That type of thinking is much more complex than it seems- it involves episodic future thinking (difficult for many animals).

What is probably true is that animals in species that have evolved parental care for their offspring gain some sort of emotional reward for caring from them. We don’t often think about it, but something like caring for a pet is somehow very rewarding for us- otherwise, why would we keep pets?

I wrote about this more in another post, but I’ll bring up something I didn’t then. In many highly social species, from meerkats to African wild dogs, nonreproductive group members have a particular fascination the new offspring of others. Some of this is simply evolutionarily rewarding: in groups where only one pair reproduces, the others may gain a fitness benefit from helping to raise the young of their relatives.

However, many primate species live in groups in which there are multiple reproducing females with their own offspring. In these cases, why are group members so eager to handle the infants of others?

We know that the opportunity to handle infants must be rewarding, at least for primates, because in some cases they will even trade favors like grooming for the opportunity to hold the baby.

Because both experienced adults and juveniles are fascinated by infants, this does not seem to be either a result of previous care experience or a means of learning to be maternal. Likewise, other theories- like a means of reproductive competition via harassing or taking the infant from its mother- don’t hold much water due to the fact that infant handling doesn’t often cause infant mortality. (Direct infanticide behaviors do occur in most social species, but they’re different from infant handling.)

The best hypothesis that fits with what researchers have observed is that for many social animals, the sight of infants brings out a strong compulsion to care for them. This can even occur in infants of different species which still have infantile traits. For example, there’s a now-famous case of a group of capuchin monkeys adopting a baby marmoset.

Obviously this doesn’t happen often- or at least happen often successfully, as a different species may feel the urge to care for an infant from another but lack the means to do so.

Further Reading

Gumert, M. D. (2007). Grooming and infant handling interchange in Macaca fascicularis: the relationship between infant supply and grooming payment. International Journal of Primatology, 28(5), 1059-1074.

Henzi, S. P., & Barrett, L. (2002). Infants as a commodity in a baboon market. Animal Behaviour, 63(5), 915-921.

Izar, P., Verderane, M. P., Visalberghi, E., Ottoni, E. B., Gomes De Oliveira, M., Shirley, J., & Fragaszy, D. (2006). Cross‐genus adoption of a marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) by wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus libidinosus): case report. American journal of primatology, 68(7), 692-700.

Silk, J. B. (1999). Why are infants so attractive to others? The form and function of infant handling in bonnet macaques. Animal Behaviour, 57(5), 1021-1032.

Slater, K. Y., Schaffner, C. M., & Aureli, F. (2007). Embraces for infant handling in spider monkeys: evidence for a biological market?. Animal Behaviour, 74(3), 455-461.

fitziggler  asked:

i saw the adorbleness of your pregnant jemma head canons, but i kind of wanna know about the other side. would you mind listing your expecting father fitz head canons? like his side of the scene while jemma's pregnant.

*cracks knuckles* *winces bc wait I don’t crack my knuckles that shit hurts*

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