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Unlike the chest-beating primates of popular imagination, Brazil’s northern muriquis are easygoing and highly cooperative. (Mark Moffett / Minden Pictures)

Humans Would Be Better Off If They Monkeyed Around Like the Muriquis

Biologist Karen Strier has been studying these peace-loving Brazilian primates and their egalitarian lifestyle for decades

“Nature is designing my experiment: the effects of population growth on wild primates,” she says. Among the many unknowns there’s one certainty: The muriquis will try to adapt. “It’s not surprising that long-lived, intelligent, socially complex primates are capable of great behavioral plasticity,” says Strier. "It gives me hope. After watching this group for 30 years," she adds, "anything is possible."

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