By Susan Perry

With their tonsured heads, white faces, and extraordinary cowls, the monkeys could vaguely resemble the Capuchin clergymen for whom they have been named. How they act is anything else totally. They climb onto each one other's shoulders 4 deep to frighten enemies. They attempt friendship by way of sticking their arms up one another's noses. they generally nurse--but occasionally kill--each other's offspring. They use intercourse as a method of speaking. they usually negotiate a remarkably difficult community of alliances, simian politics, and social intrigue. now not monkish, possibly, yet as we see during this downright ethnographic account of the capuchins of Lomas Barbudal, their global is as advanced, ritualistic, and based as any society. Manipulative Monkeys takes us right into a Costa Rican woodland teeming with simian drama, the place given that 1990 primatologists Susan Perry and Joseph H. Manson have the lives of 4 generations of capuchins. What the authors describe is habit as entertaining--and sometimes as alarming--as it truly is recognizable: the contest and cooperation, the jockeying for place and standing, the peaceable years less than an alpha male devolving into bloody chaos, and the advanced traditions handed from one iteration to the following. Interspersed with their observations of the monkeys' lives are the authors' colourful stories of the demanding situations of tropical fieldwork--a combination so wealthy that via the book's finish we all know what it really is to be a wild capuchin monkey or a box primatologist. And we're left with a transparent experience of the significance of those endangered monkeys for realizing human behavioral evolution. (20080612)

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At the time I was putting together my research plan, the frugivory hypothesis was the one best supported by comparative data. Among pri- Social Intelligence Debate and Origins of Project 29 mates and bats, it was known that the species that ate more fruit had larger brains for their body size. Fruit is a particularly energy-rich food, so it could be argued that frugivory merely permitted brains to become larger over evolutionary time. But evolution does not produce traits just because they are possible; a trait must enable individuals to reproduce better than those lacking that trait.

Staying with them until dark, when they bedded down for the night, did no good, since they were always long gone by the time I arrived in the taxi the next morning. m. ) Reluctantly we came to the conclusion that we would have to camp in the forest. We began arranging for the taxi driver to drop us off for a few nights, so that I could run out to the monkeys before dawn and thereby avoid losing them every day. Once we lost them, it often took several days to relocate them, and I could not afford to lose so much work time.

In some cases, of course, there were holes in the ground that a predator could have slipped into before I arrived on the scene. But in other cases, I removed all leaf litter and found neither holes nor predators. The most memorable of these instances took place on August 26, 1992, when the subordinate male Guapo was being pursued by a coalition consisting of the scariest members of the group: Curmudgeon, Abby, and Paul (that is, the three highest-ranking members aside from himself). Guapo suddenly stopped in his tracks and began to produce frantic snake alarm calls while looking at the ground.

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