“I think at every opportunity we need to say, Wow, well, I’m a monkey.” Entertaining interview with Dave Matthews on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, part of CBC radio. All about vervet monkeys. Matthews is quite the story teller!
For those of you looking to explore vervet monkeys’ lives more, I recommend Dorothy Cheney & Robert Seyfarth’s 1992 book on their research on vervets, How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species.
Cheney and Seyfarth’s 2008 book is on their work with baboons, and is a great read about primate behavior, the evolution of mind, and understanding ourselves from a comparative perspective: Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind.
Matthews’ last story, about male vervet monkeys’ family jewels, is entirely true. I’ve included some vivid photographs if you just click for more. The blue color of the scrotum actually varies according to dominance status – a bright, vivid blue is connected with higher male status. Show offs!
For that research, see Gerald (2001), Primate colour predicts social status and aggressive outcome.
Here are those photos!