Rhesus macaques responded ‘dynamically’ to extreme change, researchers say. According to the Independent
Monkeys living on an island in Puerto Rico became more tolerant and widened their friendship circles after a devastating hurricane struck in 2017, researchers have found.
Cayo Santiago, a place also known as “Monkey Island”, was severely hit by Hurricane Maria four years ago, a disaster that killed more than 3,000 people in the US territory.
In the aftermath of the storm, scientists from the US and UK noticed that rhesus macaques in Cayo Santiago transformed their social networks, despite the loss of two thirds of green vegetation meaning resources were more limited than they were before.
By observing the animals’ proximity and grooming habits, the researchers discovered that the monkeys – especially those who were previously socially isolated – made new friends.
“We expected the monkeys would use their closest allies to cope with the ecological devastation of the hurricane and so would invest in their existing relationships,” said Professor Lauren Brent.
Image Source: Independent.co.uk