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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monkeying around

The black-and-white colobus monkeys on exhibit in our Tropical Rain Forest area have received some additional exhibit-mates and so now five colobus make the spot their home. Last week brought introductions to each other. Many species of monkeys are highly social but highly territorial and hierarchical so careful introductions are vital to incorporating new members into the group. Soon the new members were exploring the exhibit and getting their social nuances worked out.

Colobus are native across equitorial Africa and are known for their dramatic black coats with flowing white hair. The name "colobus" is derived from the Greek word meaning "docked" or "mutilated." Colobus monkeys once were thought to be abnormal because they have no thumb, or only a small stub where the thumb would usually be. This is actually an adaptation rather than a mutilation which allows colobus monkeys to easily travel along the tops of branches quadripedally. (Photo by Dennis Dow)

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