( f or e w o r d ) O nce while visiting a park on the Pacic fi side of Costa Rica, I observed what appeared to be anarchic behavior among a group of squirrel monkeys. More than twenty of them were clustered together on a limb, fussing, fighting, biting, examining each other’s genitals, having sex and pushing each other to die ff rent limbs. e Th y seemed to be engaged in endless conflict. I later learned that what looked like chaos was in fact the maintenance of a certain order, albeit at a speedy metabolic and behavioral rate. Squirrel monkeys live in large mixed-sex gatherings of females from the same natal group, with immi- grant males among them that are typically kept on the periphery despite their frequent, oe ft n frustrated attempts to take die ff rent positions in the community. Males that grasp and examine females are apparently seeking olfactory cues to the female’s reproductive state; much of the fussing, biting and pushing I observed are eo ff rts to defy and test social and sexual order, blended with actions maintaining that order in the quest for strong sexual mates. e Th ir crazy
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jun 24, 2015
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