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Study Finds Humans Are Really Good at Sleeping

We may have evolved to sleep less and deeper than our primate ancestors

(Newser) - Ever wonder why your cat sleeps all day while you're stuck with the measly seven hours you can cram in between Scandal and your morning commute? As it turns out, you're just way better at sleeping than your furry friend. According to a study in Evolutionary Anthropology, humans... More »

Your Dog Forgot the Hug You Just Gave Him

Study finds animals have short short-term memory spans

(Newser) - When it comes to short-term memory, animals have very short ones indeed. A new meta-analysis examined more than 90 memory experiments carried out on 25 species encompassing birds, mammals, and bees. Researchers at Stockholm University and Brooklyn College found that for dogs, events are forgotten after about two minutes—and... More »

For Monkeys, Love Means Chucking Rocks

Female capuchins have a rather painful way of signaling mates

(Newser) - Good news for male capuchin monkeys wondering why females are always throwing rocks at them: They're actually attracted to you (the bad news probably goes unsaid here). Researchers studying the sex lives of monkeys in Brazil's Serra de Capivara national park found that amorous female capuchins whine and... More »

Humans Became Monogamous to Stop Infanticide

Study finds the origins of monogamy are not so romantic

(Newser) - Scientists believe they may have discovered the reason most humans, at least in theory, are so wedded to the idea of monogamy, and the answer ain't "true love." As a species, we became predominantly monogamous so other humans wouldn't kill our babies, according to a new... More »

Oldest Primate Fossil Found

Tiny creature from 55M years ago discovered in ancient Chinese lake

(Newser) - A tiny, funny-looking creature that scampered around what is now China some 55 million years ago might help rewrite the book on primates, reports the BBC . Scientists have concluded that little Archicebus achilles—it weighed about an ounce and was maybe 8 inches long—is the world's oldest primate... More »

Baboons' Lip-Smacking: Precursor to Speech?

Geladas of Ethiopia smack their lips to make human-like sound

(Newser) - Might this be a hint of how human speech came to be? Researchers at the University of Michigan say wild monkeys of Ethiopia known as geladas smack their lips together and make gutteral noises to produce a sound like our speech, reports PBS . The pattern of these "wobbles" follows... More »

HIV's Origins Stretch Back Millions of Years

Earlier work suggested HIV 'cousins' were much more recent

(Newser) - "Cousins" of the HIV virus are millions of years old—not tens of thousands, as previous research has suggested, according to a new study. Researchers in Seattle examined HIV-like viruses in a range of primates. Genetic changes in monkey and ape immune systems point to the development of such... More »

New Monkey Species Found

'Lesula' found in remote Congo jungle

(Newser) - A remote jungle in the Congo has yielded a new species of monkey, the first to be found in almost 30 years. Scientists discovered the lesula in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Lomami forest basin after spotting an unusual monkey being kept as a pet in a small forest... More »

Smugglers Busted With Primates in Their Skivvies

Lorises headed to Dubai from Bangkok

(Newser) - Is that a slender loris in your pants, or are you just happy to see me? In this case, it was the former: Three United Arab Emirates men headed to Dubai from Bangkok were caught with small primates in their underwear. Two were carrying mammals called slender lorises, Sri Lanka... More »

DC Zoo Animals Sensed Quake

Apes starting climbing seconds before ground started shaking

(Newser) - In a mysterious phenomenon that has been observed since ancient times, animals at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, appear to have sensed Tuesday's earthquake before humans did. Seconds before the ground began to shake, gorillas and orangutans dropped their food, grabbed their young, and climbed as high as... More »

Monkeys Create Own Language Sign

Mandrills invent way to sign 'do not disturb'

(Newser) - Monkeys at a British zoo have developed a way of saying "leave me alone" that doesn't involve biting or flinging poop. The mandrills cover their eyes—much like in the "see no evil" gesture—when they desire solitude, and their fellow monkeys respect the signal, the Telegraph... More »

Ad Campaign Targets Primates

Researchers believe billboards will influence monkeys' food choice

(Newser) - Sex sells even when the target audience isn't human, according to a primatologist and two ad execs cooking up the first-ever ad campaign aimed at monkeys. The team plans to create two "brands" of food for capuchin monkeys and heavily advertise one in advance to see if advertising... More »

Feds Halt New Tests on Aging Lab Chimps

New Mexico chimps win reprieve

(Newser) - Some 186 elderly chimpanzees formerly used in invasive research have been given a temporary reprieve from more experiments. The National Institutes of Health, which had planned to transfer the chimps from their home at an NIH facility in New Mexico to a Texas research facility, has announced that the chimps... More »

Young Chimps Play With 'Dolls'

Girl chimps treat sticks like infants, boy treat them like weapons

(Newser) - If you have any juvenile chimps on your Christmas list, a new study has made your shopping a breeze. Researchers have observed wild chimps using sticks as toys, and boy and girl chimps treat the sticks very differently, CNN reports. Young female chimps appeared to treat the sticks like dolls,... More »

Team Deciphers Orangutan Sign Language

Gestures analyzed to compile 'orangutan dictionary'

(Newser) - A bite of the air, blowing a raspberry, or a backroll means "playtime" in orangutan, say researchers who have completed the most extensive study yet of great ape gestures. The team deciphered the meanings of 40 common orangutan gestures that the animals—the least vocal of the great apes—... More »

Half of All Primates Endangered

Deforestation, hunting threaten man's closest kin

(Newser) - Nearly half of all primate species on the planet are in danger of extinction, warns a shocking report by a world conservation organization. Destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting are the key threats to man's closest relatives, according to the International Union for Conservation... More »

Russians Aim to Send Monkey to Mars

Robot would look after primate during 520-day round trip

(Newser) - The first Earthling to reach Mars may be a Russian monkey, according to scientists at an ex-Soviet facility. The director of an institute that supplied monkeys to the Soviet space program in the '80s says the facility is in talks with Russia's Cosmonautics Academy over supplying animals for a simulated... More »

Fossil Find Shakes Up Evolution Timeline

Ardipithecus ramidus lived in trees and walked upright

(Newser) - A primate fossil found in Africa in 1994 predates the famous “Lucy” skeleton by 1 million years and offers clues to human evolution, researchers say. “This is huge,” a paleoanthropologist tells the Washington Post. “This is the biggest discovery really since” Lucy. The researchers believe “... More »

Monkeys Only Like Monkey Music—and Metallica

Heavy metal had calming effect on monkeys who ignored classic rock and jazz

(Newser) - Monkeys subjected to a range of human music ignored Bach, Nine Inch Nails, and jazz, but found Metallica soothing, the Daily Telegraph reports. The experiment on a group of cottontop tamarins, carried out by a psychologist and a cellist, found that while the monkeys showed no response to human music,... More »

Goodall: Environment Near 'Point of No Return'

(Newser) - The LA Times catches up with chimp guru Jane Goodall, who argues in a new book that that the world is nearly "at the point of no return" on the environment, but that political will can turn things around. Interview excerpts:
  • On the environment: "When I began there
... More »

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