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Concept: Monkey


For four decades, the inability of nonhuman primates to produce human speech sounds has been claimed to stem from limitations in their vocal tract anatomy, a conclusion based on plaster casts made from the vocal tract of a monkey cadaver. We used x-ray videos to quantify vocal tract dynamics in living macaques during vocalization, facial displays, and feeding. We demonstrate that the macaque vocal tract could easily produce an adequate range of speech sounds to support spoken language, showing that previous techniques based on postmortem samples drastically underestimated primate vocal capabilities. Our findings imply that the evolution of human speech capabilities required neural changes rather than modifications of vocal anatomy. Macaques have a speech-ready vocal tract but lack a speech-ready brain to control it.

Concepts: Language, Macaque, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Monkey, Japanese Macaque, Barbary Macaque, Cercopithecinae


Most living primates exhibit a daytime or nighttime activity pattern. Strict diurnality is thought to be the rule among anthropoids except for owl monkeys. Here we report the diel activity pattern of an Asian colobine, the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus brelichi, based on a methodology that relied on using 24-h continuously operating camera traps. We conducted the study in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China from March 22 to May 19 and from June 17 to October 14, 2011. After standardizing all time elements to a meridian-based time according to the geographic coordinates of the study site, we showed unequivocally that the monkeys, though predominantly diurnal, exhibited activity beyond daylight hours throughout the study. Specifically, their activity at night and during twilight periods suggests a complex interplay of behavioral adaptations, among others, to living in a temperate environment where day length and food resources fluctuate substantially across seasons. We contend that, under prevailing ecological conditions, so-called strictly diurnal primates may adjust their activity schedule opportunistically in order to increase energy intake. We also discuss the advantages of using camera traps in primate studies, and how the standardized use of meridian-based time by researchers would benefit comparisons of diel activity patterns among primates.

Concepts: Primate, Monkey, Old World monkey, Snub-nosed monkey, Colobinae, Simian, Gray Snub-nosed Monkey, Colobine monkeys


BACKGROUND: Trigeminal nerve is a major source of the sensory input of the face, and trigeminal neuropathology models have been reported in rodents with injury to branches of the maxillary or mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. Non-human primates are neuroanatomically more closely related to human than rodents; however, nerve injury studies in non-human primates are limited. RESULTS: We describe here a nerve injury model of maxillary nerve compression (MNC) in the cynomolgus macaque monkey, Macaca fascicularis, and the initial characterization of the consequences of damage to this trigeminal nerve branch. The nerve injury from the compression appeared to be mild, as we did not observe overt changes in home-cage behavior in the monkeys. When mechanical stimulation was applied to the facial area, monkeys with MNC displayed increased mechanical sensitivity, as the avoidance response scores were lower than those from the control animals. Such a change in mechanical sensitivity appeared to be somewhat bilateral, as the contralateral side also showed increased mechanical sensitivity, although the change on the ipsilateral side was more robust. Multiple-unit recording of the maxillary nerve showed a general pattern of increasing responsiveness to escalating force in mechanical stimulation on the contralateral side. Ipsilateral side of the maxillary nerve showed a lack of responsiveness to escalating force in mechanical stimulation, possibly reflecting a maximum stimulation threshold effect from sensitized nerve due to MNC injury. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that MNC may produce increased sensitivity of the ipsilateral maxillary nerve, and that this model may serve as a non-human primate model to evaluate the effect of injury to trigeminal nerve branches.

Concepts: Macaque, Cranial nerves, Primate, Mandibular nerve, Monkey, Trigeminal nerve, Maxillary nerve, Simian


Rodent models have dominated preclinical investigations into the mechanisms of depression. However, these models-which rely on subjecting individual rodents to physical stressors - do not realistically resemble the etiopathological development of depression, which occurs naturally in a social context. A non-human primate model that better reflects the social ethological aspects of depression would be more advantageous to investigating pathophysiological mechanisms and developing antidepressant therapeutics. Here, we describe and model a naturally-occurring depressive state in a non-human primate species, the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis), in a realistic social ethological context and associate the depressed behavioral phenotype with significant serum metabolic perturbations. One to two subjects per stable social colony (17-22 subjects) manifested a depressive phenotype that may be attributed to psychosocial stress. In accordance with rodent and human studies, the serum metabolic phenotype of depressed and healthy subjects significantly differed, supporting the model’s face validity. However, application of the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine failed to demonstrate predictive validity. This study proposes a non-human primate depression model in a realistic social ethological context that can better approximate the psychosocial stressors underlying depression.

Concepts: Human, Mammal, Macaque, Primate, Rodent, Bipolar disorder, Monkey, Euarchontoglires


Traditionally, brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) extract motor commands from a single brain to control the movements of artificial devices. Here, we introduce a Brainet that utilizes very-large-scale brain activity (VLSBA) from two (B2) or three (B3) nonhuman primates to engage in a common motor behaviour. A B2 generated 2D movements of an avatar arm where each monkey contributed equally to X and Y coordinates; or one monkey fully controlled the X-coordinate and the other controlled the Y-coordinate. A B3 produced arm movements in 3D space, while each monkey generated movements in 2D subspaces (X-Y, Y-Z, or X-Z). With long-term training we observed increased coordination of behavior, increased correlations in neuronal activity between different brains, and modifications to neuronal representation of the motor plan. Overall, performance of the Brainet improved owing to collective monkey behaviour. These results suggest that primate brains can be integrated into a Brainet, which self-adapts to achieve a common motor goal.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Neuroscience, Human brain, Retina, Primate, Monkey, Simian


While it is well known that the primate brain evolved to cope with complex social contingencies, the neurophysiological manifestation of social interactions in primates is not well understood. Here, concurrent wireless neuronal ensemble recordings from pairs of monkeys were conducted to measure interbrain cortical synchronization (ICS) during a whole-body navigation task that involved continuous social interaction of two monkeys. One monkey, the passenger, was carried in a robotic wheelchair to a food dispenser, while a second monkey, the observer, remained stationary, watching the passenger. The two monkeys alternated the passenger and the observer roles. Concurrent neuronal ensemble recordings from the monkeys' motor cortex and the premotor dorsal area revealed episodic occurrence of ICS with probability that depended on the wheelchair kinematics, the passenger-observer distance, and the passenger-food distance - the social-interaction factors previously described in behavioral studies. These results suggest that ICS represents specific aspects of primate social interactions.

Concepts: Brain, Sociology, Cerebral cortex, Primate, Ape, Strepsirrhini, Monkey, Simian


Canine distemper virus (CDV) has recently expanded its host range to non-human primates. A large CDV outbreak occurred in rhesus monkeys at a breeding farm in Guangxi province, China, in 2006, followed by another outbreak in rhesus monkeys at an animal center in Beijing in 2008. In 2008 in Japan, a CDV outbreak also occurred in cynomolgus monkeys imported from China. In that outbreak, forty-six monkeys died from severe pneumonia during a quarantine period. A CDV strain (CYN07-dV) was isolated in Vero cells expressing dog signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM). Phylogenic analysis showed that CYN07-dV was closely related to the recent CDV outbreaks in China, suggesting continuing chains of CDV infection in monkeys. In vitro, CYN07-dV uses macaca SLAM and macaca nectin4 as receptors as efficiently as dog SLAM and dog nectin4, respectively. CYN07-dV showed high virulence in experimentally infected cynomolgus monkeys and excreted progeny viruses in oral fluid and feces. These data revealed that some of the CDV strains, like CYN07-dV, have the potential to cause acute systemic infection in monkeys.

Concepts: Immune system, Virus, People's Republic of China, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Viruses, Canine distemper, Monkey


Cynomolgus monkeys are widely used in drug developmental stages as non-human primate models. Previous studies used 89 compounds to investigate species differences associated with cytochrome P450 (P450 or CYP) function that reported monkey specific CYP2C76 cleared 19 chemicals, and homologous CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 metabolized 17 and 30 human CYP2C9 and/or CYP2C19 substrates, respectively. In the present study, 22 compounds selected from viewpoints of global drug interaction guidances and guidelines were further evaluated to seek potential substrates for monkey CYP2C8, which is highly homologous to human CYP2C8 (92%). Amodiaquine, montelukast, quercetin, and rosiglitazone, known as substrates or competitive inhibitors of human CYP2C8, were metabolically depleted by recombinant monkey CYP2C8 at relatively high rates. Taken together with our reported findings of slow eliminations of amodiaquine and montelukast by monkey CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP2C76, the present results suggest that these at least four chemicals may be good marker substrates for monkey CYP2C8. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Human, Metabolism, Cytochrome P450, Primate, CYP3A4, Monkey, Simian, CYP2C8


In pre-clinical animal studies, the uniformity of dosing across subjects and routes of administration is a crucial requirement. In preparation for a study in which aerosolized live-attenuated measles virus vaccine was administered to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) by inhalation, we assessed the percentage of a nebulized dose inhaled under varying conditions.

Concepts: Human, Vaccine, Mammal, Primate, Measles, Rubella, Monkey, Simian


Primates live in highly social environments, where prosocial behaviors promote social bonds and cohesion and contribute to group members' fitness. Despite a growing interest in the biological basis of nonhuman primates' social interactions, their underlying motivations remain a matter of debate. We report that macaque monkeys take into account the welfare of their peers when making behavioral choices bringing about pleasant or unpleasant outcomes to a monkey partner. Two macaques took turns in making decisions that could impact their own welfare or their partner’s. Most monkeys were inclined to refrain from delivering a mildly aversive airpuff and to grant juice rewards to their partner. Choice consistency between these two types of outcome suggests that monkeys display coherent motivations in different social interactions. Furthermore, spontaneous affilitative group interactions in the home environment were mostly consistent with the measured social decisions, thus emphasizing the impact of preexisting social bonds on decision-making. Interestingly, unique behavioral markers predicted these decisions: benevolence was associated with enhanced mutual gaze and empathic eye blinking, whereas indifference or malevolence was associated with lower or suppressed such responses. Together our results suggest that prosocial decision-making is sustained by an intrinsic motivation for social affiliation and controlled through positive and negative vicarious reinforcements.

Concepts: Decision making, Sociology, Macaque, Primate, Behavior, Motivation, Monkey, Japanese Macaque