Life as We Know It
Toucans, Orchids, Monkeys and more
- By Amanda Bensen, Abby Callard, T.A. Frail, Ashley Luthern and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, October 2009
(Brandon C. Wheeler)
Name: The tufted capuchin monkey, (Cebus apella nigritus), a fruit-eating primate from South America.
Look Out: Capuchins, which live in groups of 7 to 30, peep and hiccup to alert group members to feline or serpentine predators.
Look Away: It's now known that capuchins issue false alarms, peeping or hiccuping in the absence of cats or snakes—but in the presence of food.
Look Again: The alarms scare other group members away from food sources, says Brandon Wheeler of Stony Brook University. If the calls are intentional, he says, they would be the first "tactical deceptions" seen in non-human primates.
Learn more about the tufted capuchins at the Encyclopedia of Life.
"Fire as an Engineering Tool of Early Modern Humans," Kyle S. Brown et al., Science, August 14, 2009
"Fire and Stone," John Webb and Marian Domanski, Science, August 14, 2009
"Heat Exchange from the Toucan Bill Reveals a Controllable Vascular Thermal Radiator," Glenn J. Tattersall et al., Science, July 24, 2009
"Orchid Mimics Honey Bee Alarm Pheromone in Order to Attract Hornets for Pollination," Jennifer Brodmann et al., Current Biology, August 25, 2009
"A viscosity-enhanced mechanism for biogenic ocean mixing," Kakani Katija and John O. Dabiri, Nature, July 30, 2009
"Monkeys crying wolf? Tufted capuchin monkeys use anti-predator calls to usurp resources from conspecifics," Brandon C. Wheeler, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, June 3, 2009