Sunday Monkey Facts
This post is sponsored by SAASA and Monkeyland
Fun Facts about Capuchins
Capuchin monkeys are named after the Capuchin Friars – and so are Cappuccino coffees. In 1525, a Franciscan monk named Matteo da Bascio broke with his order's tradition. He wanted to return to the ways of St. Francis and live a more austere, hermit-like life. Da Bascio helped found a group called the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, whose members are often called Capuchin monks. They wear a brown pointed hood called a cappuccino.
Capuchins often invent new behaviours – you could also call them traditions - that spread through the group. An examples are: they wash soiled food in water, they poke each other in the eye, they sniff each other’s hands, some suck on their and their friend/families tails, fingers, and ears. Some capuchins even bite a tuft of hair from another’s face and pass it around with their mouths. This might all be about reinforcing social bonds.
We know that other apes, such as chimpanzees, use tools. But thanks to capuchins, we know that other monkeys do it too. Capuchins were the first non-ape primates that we observed using tools in the wild. Capuchins skilfully crack nuts using hammer-like rocks or stones. They fish termites or insects out of their mounds/nests with a special technique that includes stick rotation and tapping the nests.
They wash with pee! Capuchins and some other New World monkey species do something called “urine washing.” They pee on their hands and use it to wash their feet. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but it may be a social cue. Capuchins may urine wash to calm down aggressive friends. Males may do it to appease females or convey their sexual excitement. It may also be about improving a monkey’s grip on slippery trees by making its hands and feet … stickier. Eww. Not sure what you can do with this info 😊
Females in a group of capuchins can be observed throwing rocks or sticks at males in an apparent attempt to get their attention and initiate sex. Scientists think that one female might have started the trend, and then other females copied her. In the Capuchin societies the females do they courting.
Let’s protect our capuchin cousins so that they’ll keep cracking open nuts, poking each other in the eye, and throwing rocks at boys for generations to come.
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