Capuchin Monkeys Essay

Capuchins have traditionally been in the genus, Cebus Erxleben from the family Cabidae. There had been four species recognized among the capuchins, such as: Cebus albifrons, Cebus olivaceus, Cebus capucinus, and Cebus apella, all of which are a taxonomy that dominated capuchin history for an approximation of 50 years (Lynch Alfaro et al. , 2014). Over the years more capuchins had been recognized as well such as, Cebus kaapori, Cebus libidinosus, Cebus nigritus, Cebus queirozi, and finally Cebus xanthosternos.

In a physical sense, capuchin monkeys weigh around six to twelve pounds and live over five decades. In contrast to New World Monkeys, they have robust jaw and dental structures, large brains compared to their body size, and moderately prehensile tails (Fragaszy, 2005). Even their hands have strong grips and independent finger movements. Taking all of these factors into consideration, this gives capuchin monkeys a wide range of locomotor and foraging actions (Fragaszy, 2005). Habitat wise, capuchin monkeys are flexible and adapt well to any type of environment in the Neotropical forest.

For example, humid and dry forests, swamp forests, seasonally flooded forests, mangrove forests, gallery forests, and deciduous forests, where rain is limited for at least five to six months of the year (Fragaszy, 2005). These capuchin monkeys can migrate into any type of environment and be able to adapt, competition may not be an issue. Specifically speaking, the tufted capuchin monkey can live in a wide variety of wooded habitats and it is considered to be highly adaptable (Gron, 2009).

In Suriname, the tufted capuchin monkey lives in at least five different forest types, such as; high rain forests, low rain forests, mountain savanna forest, liane forest, and pina swamp forest (Gron, 2009). In general of all tufted capuchin monkeys are found are the rainforest, southern forest, mora forest, premontane forest, lower montane forest, wallaba forest, kanuku forest, southeast seasonal forest, swamp forest, and low seasonal forest (Gron, 2009). Also found in different edge habitats. Close to the western extreme of the tufted capuchin monkeys range in moist tropical forests in southeastern Peru.

The dry season ranges from June to October with rainfall moderately around 2000 mm with an average temperature of 24. 1 degrees celsius and 75. 38 degrees fahrenheit (Gron, 2009). The altitude the tufted capuchin monkeys are known to be found in usually vary with species having been seen as high as 2350 m which is 7709. 97 feet in the Peruvian highlands (Gron, 2009). Their social structure is non-monogamous and nonsolitary. Their locomotory pattern is quadrupedal walking and leaping. Adults usually make jumps of around three meters, and they are arboreal.

They roam in groups of thirty-five to forty members consisting of related females, their offspring, a few adult males. They usually sleep in tall trees on branches instead of building a nest for security purposes at their own comfort level, and their appropriateness for social interaction (Gron, 2009). For these monkeys the trees are needed to be tall to prevent access from terrestrial predators. Capuchin monkeys are omnivores and their source of food is usually fruits, leaves, insects, small vertebrates, spiders, some eat oysters, crabs, bark and gum, nuts, seeds, and flowers.

Geographically, tufted capuchins are only found in South America, in countries of Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, French Guiana, Suriname, Guiana, and Venezuela (Gron, 2009). They are isolated from the rest of the population off of the north coast of Venezuela, which is separated from the nearest mainland population close to 800 km (Gron, 2009). Although its origins are unknown, they have been there since the pre-Columbian era. The west of the tufted capuchins range furthers into the Colombian Amazon, others as far as the eastern foothills of the

Andes mountain chain south into Peru (Gron, 2009). In Brazil, the southern limit is shown to be limited by the bush savannah of central Brazil. Eastern extremes of the range could potentially extend further past the Rio Xingu, although there is some disagreements as to the limits of range (Gron, 2009). In 1986 at La Macarena, Colombia tufted capuchin monkeys were studied for over a decade by Kosei Izawa, some other significant studies include those in Peru by Charles Janson (Gron, 2009). 2) Tool Use among Wild Capuchins Wild capuchin monkeys have used many tools to extract the foods they desire.

For example, wild tufted capuchin monkeys are capable of using tools to open up fruits, the husks cannot open in it’s teeth or jaws so therefore, they use tools to smash them open (Gron, 2009). They have been observed in utilizing a stick to club a snake and shells to crack open oysters as well as other insects. The capuchin monkeys’ ability to use and modify the sticks as probes, and stone and bone fragments as cutting and nut-cracking instruments without any training nor human demonstration is extremely surprising, however possible (Westergaard, 1995).

Usually managing to grasp and understand the method of handling a tool to do certain things, takes years to figure out for primates however, with this ability by the capuchin monkeys, they have a high level of intelligence. Capuchin monkeys use the hard-hammer percussion, which involves striking a hand-held hammer-stone against a hand-held stonecore, which therefore produces stone flakes. Another method used by the capuchins is bipolar behavior, which is placing a core against a surface then striking it with another stone (Westergaard, 1995).

Another method would be the anvil technique where the capuchin monkeys strike stones against stationary surfaces and also by throwing stones down from perches (Westergaard, 1995). With these methods capuchins crack open encased fruits, and mostly palm nuts, throughout the year (Westergaard, 1995). All capuchins crack palm nuts that are available to them, however adult capuchin monkeys crack nuts more in the dry season when catule nuts are especially plentiful for them to devour ( Westergaard, 1995). Not only can this ability be used for obtaining food, this also allows a use of defense with the sticks.

A capuchin monkey demonstrating a tool used to cracking open this type of nut. 3) Captive Capuchins Capuchin monkeys in captivity may undergo many tasks and challenges on a day to day basis. One of which is environmental change, these primates have to adapt to these newly found changes in the environment, and for some it is a struggle. With this effect on these primates their behavior is highly observed to challenge whether these primates are able to cope with the real world, equivalent to the independent variables being the wild capuchin monkeys (Fragaszy and Adams-Curtis, 1991).

These challenges may be solved by adapting to real world climate and various diversities. Another challenge was when capuchin monkeys in captivity were taken away from their mothers when they were just a few weeks old, which therefore caused the monkeys a lack of communication between other capuchin monkeys and how to be comfortable with one another. This also causes these capuchin monkeys in captivity, to lose out on the opportunity to learn from their mothers and elders in the wild, of problem solving skills.

In addition, they need to be more socially active and spend more time with each other and become companions so they can live a happy life, since capuchin monkeys endure hardships if they are living by themselves. Social interaction is key for them to overcome this challenging task. Capuchin monkeys also have challenges in tool manufacturing, their engagement with objects is quite unique and fascinating. These primates devote their attention, time, and energy to manipulating objects (Fragaszy and Visalberghi, 2006).

They persistently combine objects and urfaces in actions for example; they thump objects on surfaces and poke objects into surfaces, eventually leading to spontaneous discoveries (Fragaszy and Visalberghi, 2006). Just like their successful task of producing a single static spatial relation. Pounding a nut to a surface allows for actions embodying static first order relations (Fragaszy and Visalberghi, 2006). Producing dynamic single relations, just as pushing or pulling an object with a stick (Fragaszy and Visalberghi, 2006). 4) Comparison and Contrast of Wild and Captive Capuchins Captive capuchin monkeys are usually valuable in the role of education as well as research.

Sometimes even for pure entertainment, in popular zoos around the world, to exhibits from national primate research centers to small academic institutions with very few capuchin monkeys (Fragaszy, 2005). Since the captive capuchin monkeys are used for research and entertainment, they must be cared for in health and behavioral matters. Therefore, those individuals and institutions caring for captive primates are obligated to ensure the primates are in an adequate facility (Fragaszy, 2005). However, wild capuchin monkeys don’t have the luxury for anyone to facilitate a specific living area for them.

These primates learn to survive in groups throughout their entire lives. Males, females, and the young primates travel, sleep, and feed one another everyday (Fragaszy, 2005). Similar to the captive capuchin monkeys, they live compatible in pairs or groups. Capuchin monkeys endure hardships if faced of living alone, therefore a companion is required for them to live happily. They can also associate and live with other species such as, squirrel monkeys. And in addition, if one of the capuchin monkeys is lost, they simply call out loudly and vigorously searches for its group, until it is able to find and join it once again (Fragaszy, 2005).

However, a key difference between the captive and wild capuchin monkeys is that, captive capuchin monkeys are unable to solve everyday problems that wild capuchin monkeys have the ability to do. With individual experience and immediate context, these factors play a vital role in enhancing problem solving skills and exploring activities (Fragaszy, 2005). The capuchin monkeys are considered to be the most intelligent of the New World monkeys. While the capuchin monkeys in captivity, they require constant enrichment to keep them mentally and physically fit.

Since they do not have a mother the people in charge of the facilities are responsible to provide this care, and to uphold their nourishment. A similarity between the two types of primates include a persistent vocalization known as “chucks” that are also used in the wild when predators appear. However in captivity, “chucks” is used when primates are associated with people, for example when veterinarians appear (Fragaszy, 2005). In situations just as this, altercations may be taken by switching up the care routines or the housing area for better comfort and to reduce fear.

An alternative method could also be having social companions to calm a capuchin monkey into a neutral behavior. Wild capuchin monkeys are usually engaged in self-care behavior, regularly known as anointing (Fragaszy, 2005). They rub pungent and sometimes topically irritating plant or animal materials on their fur. Similar to captive capuchin monkeys, however they do so with oranges, and also rub themselves with their own urine, known as urine washing (Fragaszy, 2005). This behavior may appear deviant, but on the contrary it’s not, it’s actually normal.