North American Monkeys: Cebus capucinus. Photo by Sean Mattson, STRI Paleontology Zoology 

North American Monkeys Older Than Previously Thought

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci With the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, North and South America became connected by a thin but important strip of land that was at one time the location of a narrow seaway. As engineers recently worked to widen the Panama Canal that once again divides the two landmasses, a team of scientists acted quickly to dig through the rubble and collect newly unearthed fossils. What scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the University of Florida, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and…

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Female Japanese macaques at the center of their social network had less lice thanks to the extra grooming they receive from their many friends. This was especially true during winter when macaques mate and during summer when they give birth. Photo by Julie Duboscq/Kyoto University Health Zoology 

For Macaques, More Friends Means Fewer Parasites

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci What if instead of just hanging out on lunch dates or at happy hour, people sat around and picked parasites from their friends’ bodies? That probably wouldn’t go over too well with humans, but primate researchers from Kyoto University have found that for Japanese macaques, popularity might just be the key to better health and hygiene. Winning This Popularity Contest Could Mean Fewer Lice for Female Macaques Normally, more social interaction between animals means more of a chance to spread parasites and disease (think being confined indoors…

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