How do monkeys climb trees


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Spider monkeys, facts and photos

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Black spider monkeys (<i>Ateles fusciceps</i>) photographed at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska.

Black spider monkeys (Ateles fusciceps) photographed at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska.

Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Common Name:
Spider monkeys

Scientific Name:
Ateles

Type:
Mammals

Diet:
Omnivore

Group Name:
Troop

Average Life Span In The Wild:
22 years

Size:
14 to 26 inches

Weight:
13.25 pounds

What are spider monkeys?

Spider monkeys are large New World monkeys that live in tropical rainforests from central Mexico in the north to Bolivia in the south. There are seven species of these agile primates, which get their name from the way their long limbs and tails resemble spider legs as they dangle from branches and swing through the treetops. Four long fingers on each hand help them grasp branches, too. (They also have thumbs but those are extremely short.) Their tree-to-tree locomotion, called brachiation, is how these swingers get around.

The spider monkey’s tail is prehensile, which means “capable of grasping.” It is generally longer than the animal’s body and acts as a fifth limb—an adaptation to life in the tree canopy. It can support a spider monkey’s full body weight and allows them to hang onto branches, freeing their hands so they can climb, forage, and eat.

Each of the seven spider monkey species differs in geographic range and appearance, although they do share some physical traits and behaviors. White-bellied spider monkeys, which range from Colombia to Peru, for example, have a coat of hair that ranges from black to auburn with a light patch on their foreheads and a chin-to-belly swath of white-to-beige hair. Red-faced spider monkeys are covered in longish black hair except for their bare faces, hands, and feet.

Diet and behavior

This animal’s diet consists mostly of fruits, plus leaves, nuts, seeds, and sometimes arachnids and insects. Spider monkeys are important seed dispersers for their rainforest homes. When animals eat fruit and nuts from trees and then go on their merry way, they eventually defecate the seeds and spread the tree species throughout the area. Between 50 and 90 percent of seed dispersal in tropical forests is done by animals.

Spider monkeys are social, living in groups of up to 40 members. Within that group, smaller subgroups will often splinter off to forage. A 2014 study of Mexican spider monkeys in Belize found that males and females spent their time differently, with females doing more eating and resting and males eating more ripe fruits and traveling. Males are likely on the move because they’re patrolling their borders and raiding other troops before returning to check on the females.

Reproduction

Spider monkey males and females are both known to have multiple sexual partners, but their reproductive behaviors are difficult to document, even in captivity, and weren't even observed until the 1970s.  

But there have been some discoveries: A 2010 study on the black-faced spider monkey found that males must scramble to find and mate with the few receptive females in a single mating period. It also noted that most trysts took place in secret. Like other primates, spider monkeys form consortships in which males and females pair up and leave the group for periods as short as a few days. (These ultra-rare monkey twins have different fathers.)

Spider monkeys have a long gestation period, from seven to 7.5 months. They don’t have a single breeding season, but an individual spider monkey will wait about two to four years before giving birth again. Infants are born with full body hair except for the bare skin around the eyes of their “baby face.” Mostly helpless, newborns cling to their mother, who provides parental care, and don’t wean for as long as two years.

Conservation

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, all spider monkey populations are decreasing. The most stable wild population—that of the Guiana spider monkey of Guyana, French Guyana, Surinam, and Brazil—is still vulnerable to extinction. Human activities including farming, ranching, and road construction are destroying the monkey’s habitat—even though much of its home range is protected.

The least stable population is the brown spider monkey, found in Colombia and Venezuela. These animals are critically endangered, a distinction that places them just two steps away from extinction. They are a favorite target of hunters, who shoot them for sport and to make medicine to treat a variety of maladies from rheumatism to snake bites.

Their forest homes are also being cleared for cattle ranching, agriculture, logging, and human settlements. Pockets of forest that are left may no longer be sustainable and only 20 percent of the species’ historical distribution remains. Some protections have been put in place for this species, including local awareness programs in Venezuela and ongoing surveys to find the species and forests that could potentially be protected in Colombia.

Human-driven habitat loss threatens other spider monkey species, too. The Central American spider monkey’s diet requires a lot of the fruit that is typically found in the forests that are rapidly diminishing. Another threat for this monkey is the illegal drug trade. 

Drug traffickers clear large swaths of forest for cattle ranchers or other operations as a money laundering front, using up 20 to 60 percent of the land in the species’ home region, which runs from Mexico south to Panama. It’s now one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, according to the International Primatological Society’s 2019 report, Primates in Peril.

Did you know?

The set of lines on the end of a spider monkey's prehensile tail is unique to each monkey, like human fingerprints.
— American Museum of Natural History

The spider monkey’s genus name, Ateles, means “imperfect,” and refers to the animal’s lack of opposable thumbs.
— Hogle Zoo

Spider monkeys aren’t spiders—but they do eat them.
— Birmingham Zoo

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90,000 baby orangutans learn to climb trees. Instructors - people

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Image copyright, BBC/NHU

Image caption,

To teach a child, you must first learn by yourself

While children are being educated at home in most parts of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, young students at one unusual school continue to attend classes. In a forest school on the island of Kalimantan (Borneo), orangutan cubs, left without parents, learn to climb trees, and people help them in this.

To prepare for an independent life in the future, each day the cubs spend 12 hours in the forest, but under supervision.

A BBC film crew was filming their activities in the wooded area between Balikpapan and Samarinda for the television series "Primates" before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of a pandemic, nothing has changed for the animals, except that the staff of the Four Paws conservation program began to wear face masks, change clothes when entering the reserve, and take their temperature before interacting with orangutans.

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Over the past 70 years, the orangutan population has declined sharply in the world - there are only about 50 thousand of them left in Kalimantan.

The clearing of tropical forests for coal mines or palm plantations for further palm oil production reduces the natural habitat of these wonderful animals.

Adults are killed if they try to protect their offspring, and orphans are abandoned or illegally sold as pets.

Rehabilitation centers operate on the island, where orphaned cubs are prepared for independent living, in particular, they teach such an important skill as climbing trees.

The current pandemic has interrupted many conservation projects around the world, but it has also provided an opportunity to make some positive changes, admits Dr. Signe Proschoft, head of the orangutan rehabilitation program in East Kalimantan.

"There are great opportunities here to protect wildlife from the illegal wildlife trade and consumption," she says. "It depends a lot on education."

Image copyright, BBC/NHU

Image caption,

These images were taken before the pandemic began. Now the employees of the reserve wear face masks

But it is necessary to educate not only people, but also animals.

For example, orphaned orangutans must be trained to climb high trees, because it is there, in the dense crowns of trees, that their relatives usually live, finding both food and protection from predators, including poachers.

But what if their two-legged teachers also can't climb trees?

That's when James Reid, an arborist with many years of experience, comes to the rescue. He started the Tree Monkey Project and teaches both people and animals to climb trees.

The basic skills of a monkey, like people and many other animals, are acquired in the early years of life from the mother in the course of countless observations and repetitions. Therefore, before you train a young orangutan, you need to train his adoptive parent.

Image copyright JEJAK PULANG/FOUR PAWS

Image caption,

The head of the Kalimantan conservation program, Signe Proshoft, is proud of his pets.

James Reed's training course came in handy.

"I think our youngsters were overjoyed when they realized they could be up in the tree with one of their 'mothers'," says Dr. Proshoft.

when it comes to climbing trees - they cling to branches as tenaciously as an octopus, the biologist admits.0005

Material prepared based on report by BBC environmental correspondent Helen Briggs

Human ancestors could not climb trees - scientists

https://ria.ru/20090414/1637. html

Human ancestors couldn't climb trees - scientists0005

Jeremy DeSilva, a researcher from the University of Michigan (USA), conducted a study through which he was able to establish for sure that human ancestors were much inferior to modern chimpanzees in the ability to climb trees.

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Ecology

Ecology, Science

MOSCOW, April 14 - RIA Novosti. Human ancestors that lived up to 4 million years ago had very limited ability to climb trees, as they already had a developed upright posture by that time, according to the author of a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Despite the fact that anthropologists have long known that the ability to walk on two legs and the ability to easily climb trees require completely opposite skeletal joint design, many scientists have pointed to a mixture of these features in the structure of the limbs of the prehistoric ancestors of Homo sapiens.

Jeremy DeSilva, a researcher from the University of Michigan (USA), conducted a study through which he was able to establish for sure that human ancestors were much inferior to modern chimpanzees in the ability to climb trees.

In his work, the scientist observed how modern species of apes, chimpanzees, as the closest relatives of man, climb trees. During this part of the study, conducted in one of the national parks of Uganda, the scientist paid special attention to the so-called maximum angle of the dorsiflexion of the ankle joint of animals, in which the toes are still turned up.

It turned out that this angle is 45 degrees and thus significantly exceeds that in humans - only 15-20 degrees. Due to such a large angle of the dorsal fold, chimpanzees can almost completely transfer their weight to one of the hind limbs during climbing up a vertically standing tree trunk. In order to develop this ability, the chimpanzee's tibia is greatly expanded where it articulates with the ankle joint.

De Silva studied 12 relatively well-preserved skeletons of prehistoric human ancestors - from Australopithecus anamensis, who lived in what is now Kenya 4.12 million years ago, to Homo erectus, whose remains had lain in African soil for 1.


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