Best Prime-Mates

Photo by Suprem Vanam on Unsplash

When the going gets tough, the tough. . . lean on our friends?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying it’s COOL to be a monkey – they’ve got it made in the shade! Literally.

But in 2017, Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico destroying sixty percent of the greenery on Cayo Santiago island. This robbed the island’s population of rhesus macaques of precious shade. 

Camille Testard from the University of Pennsylvania wondered how this new sun exposure might affect their social life.

Testard and team tracked how much the primates hung out with each other. They compared their analysis to data collected before the hurricane. 

Results? After the hurricane, the monkeys were FOUR TIMES more likely to be around other monkeys. Most surprisingly, the once loneliest monkeys made the most new friends! 

The new besties kept cool together by sharing the remaining shade. The scientists think this helped them get through tough times without a decrease in population. 

So remember! Always have an emergency kit prepared, and be ready to make furry new friends at any moment!

Reference: Testard, C., Larson, S.M., Watowich, M. M., Kaplinsky, C. H., Bernau, A., Faulder, M., Marshall, H. H., Lehmann, J., Ruiz-Lambides, A., Higham, J. P., Montague, M. J., Snyder-Mackler, N., Platt, M. L., & Brent, L. J. N. (2021). Rhesus macaques build new social connections after a natural disaster. Current Biology, S0960982221003687.