The life and eventual death of a crippled capuchin monkey in the wild has been described by scientists, revealing that the mother and social group treated the baby like any other but struggled to carry it. A study published in the journal Primates On February 15, she discovered that the baby’s limb disability often caused him to be in unstable positions when his mother carried him, increasing the frequency of readjustments in his position that may have led to his death.
“The mother (Baleia) carried the pup (Balaio) in a similar way to the other pups, with some adjustments,” said Tatiane Valença, co-author of the paper and a researcher in the Neotropical Primates Research Group at the University of São Paulo ( USP), in an interview with Newsweek.
“The baby’s limb deficiency (probably congenital) caused him to be in unstable positions during transport. Therefore, the mother increased the frequency with which she adjusted the baby on her back. Another male in the group (Couscous) also carried the baby. baby and also increased the frequency of back adjustments,” he described.
You capuchin monkeys They are native to the tropical forests of Central and South America and have a complex social structure, living in groups of 10 to 35 monkeys. The monkeys also had difficulty carrying the baby when foraging, especially when cracking nuts. Eventually, the crippled baby died, and while researchers didn’t see exactly what happened, they believe the monkey likely fell and died.
“We are not sure what caused the death, but it was probably caused by a fall. We saw the puppy a day before we knew it was dead. It was perfect. After death, we examined the body. The skin around the left eye was clear, discolored and swollen, favoring the hypothesis that the death was due to trauma. So his disability may have contributed to the death,” Valença said.
The mother tried to carry her baby’s body for several hours and feed on flies around the corpse, but finally gave up after struggling to climb up. “After the death, the mother carried the baby for hours, with some difficulty. She stopped several times to put the corpse on the branches and let it fall when it jumped between the trees,” said the researcher.
Tatian explained that no adults other than the mother had contact with the corpse, but four other young monkeys showed great interest, approaching, touching and petting the corpse.
The paper’s authors say the difficulty of carrying disabled babies seen in capuchin monkeys contrasts with the ease shown in many primate species, with a previous study published in the journal Primates in 2015 describing how a disabled chimpanzee carefully carried and cared for his mother. and other chimpanzees have been seen carrying their dead babies for months.