Muriqui male is mama's boy
Male northern muriquis —a primate species found in the Brazilian rainforest— are surprisingly dependent on their mothers. These monkey mothers stay with their sons for life, and males that spend the most time with their mothers sire the most young.
Northern muriquis are special. These primates seldom quarrel. And a group’s young is fairly evenly divided among that group’s males, unlike many other primate species in which the male with the highest status sires by far the greatest number of young. Muriqui mothers and sons are very close, which likely increases these males’ contact with unrelated females. There is no inbreeding.
This knowledge about muriqui culture and biology is important for the survival of these primates. Muriquis are an endangered species, with no more than a thousand animals left in the wild. Because the monkeys are sometimes moved to protected reserves, this study’s outcome could be crucial, suggesting that moving mothers along with their sons could be important to the success of such a move.
The results of this study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.