Natural History

Life Episodes: Primates

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Intelligence, adaptability and resourcefulness have enabled primates to thrive in an incredible diversity of habitats.

Hamadryas baboons live in groups — and fight in armies — on the hot plains of Ethiopia, while Japanese macaques, the most northerly dwelling primates, survive in extreme cold. Drab Phayre's leaf monkeys have bright orange babies; and the ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar use their sense of smell for seduction.

Primates have found extraordinary ways to improvise, especially when faced with challenges beyond their physical means. Clams are closed too tightly for Costa Rica's white-faced capuchins to open with their hands and teeth, so these intelligent monkeys have learned to hammer them to weaken the clam's muscle.

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