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Monkeys and Primates: Our Captivating Cousins

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Why are people so fascinated by monkeys and other primates? Perhaps because the study of the primate order—our closest biological relatives—is the study of ourselves, and our evolution. However, as well as providing important information about our behavioral and physiological development, primates undoubtedly hold a fascination for humans beyond simple academic explanation.

Monkeys and other primates have a number of common features. Most are tree-dwellers, and well adapted to climbing. Most have opposable thumbs, an evolutionary milestone that enables both the manipulation of objects and life in the trees. They have forward-facing eyes, flat finger and toe nails rather than claws, and fingerprints. They are intelligent mammals, capable of tool use, complex social interaction, and a number of other traits that we typically consider to be human. Here is an introduction to some of the most interesting animals and behaviors that the primate order has to offer.

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Ring Tailed Lemurs - 5 Unusual Facts - part of the World's Greatest Attractions travel video series by GeoBeats. Ring-Tailed Lemurs, named after their most distinctive feature, are the most widely-known of the species and are critically endangered residents of Madagascar. Besides climbing, male lemurs use their tails to send stinky musk scent from their glands at mating-competitors. Lemurs' food of preference is fruit, but they will eat other forms of vegetation including leaves, bark, and flowers. The gestation time of the Ring-Tails is about half that of humans', but like us, they give birth to one young at a time. Like many primates, Ring-Tailed Lemurs are social animals, living in groups which range in size from less than ten to close to thirty.
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Baby Colubus Monkey stays close to its mother.
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Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan races from the camp to film the pint-sized golden-handed tamarin monkey. Standing at just 25cm tall, and foraging in the mid-canopy of the forest, they are incredibly difficult to film. But Gordon's luck is in as a family of three tamarins come into view. Visit http://www.bbcearth.com for all the latest animal news and wildlife videos and watch more high quality videos on the new BBC Earth YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/bbcearth
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Take a tour of Unusual Facts About Black Macaques in Miami, United States - part of the World's Greatest Attractions travel video series by GeoBeats. In terms of appearance, one of the most striking species of monkey in the world is the Black Macaque, found in Indonesia. These monkeys are instantly recognizable because of their mohawk-like hair and their uniformly black coloring. Unlike many of their other cousins, the Black Macaques do not have tails, but simply bright pink rears. Macaques have a mixed diet, made up of primarily fruit and plants, but also including some small animals. The troops of Macaques can be quite large, but tned to vary over time as different animals leave or join the group.
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One of the Expedition Borneo member's efforts finally pay off as, after three long days, she is finally able to watch wild gibbons swinging near her look out post. Not only a fantastic experience, this on video sighting will help the team ensure the continued conservation of the species. Visit http://www.bbcearth.com for all the latest animal news and wildlife videos and watch more high quality videos on the new BBC Earth YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/bbcearth
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Great footage of Emperor Tamarin who are almost always born in twins and have two fathers, in this clip from BBC show Clever Monkeys. Visit http://www.bbcearth.com for all the latest animal news and wildlife videos and watch more high quality videos on the new BBC Earth YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/bbcearth
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For more, visit http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wild-kingdom/#mkcpgn=ytapl1 | Watch out Desperate Housewives, the Wild Ladies of Viramba are ready to take over your spots! From politics to fighting, there's never a dull moment in baboon society. (From "Wild Ladies of Viramba," Season 2)
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Take a tour of Unusual Facts About Pygmy Marmosets in Miami, United States - part of the World's Greatest Attractions travel video series by GeoBeats. Say hello to the pygmy marmoset, the smallest monkey on the planet, weighing only about five ounces. The marmoset's favorite kind of food is tree sap, which it digs out of branches. Though this small primate's body is only about half a foot long at most, its tail is longer, up to nine inches long. Pygmy marmosets live in small family groups which keeps them safe as they climb amonst the tree branches. Because of their small size, many things prey upon marmosets, forcing the primates to move quickly and to stay vigilant.