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Concept: Simian


Ebola viruses (EBOV) cause often fatal hemorrhagic fever in several species of simian primates including human. While fruit bats are considered natural reservoir, involvement of other species in EBOV transmission is unclear. In 2009, Reston-EBOV was the first EBOV detected in swine with indicated transmission to humans. In-contact transmission of Zaire-EBOV (ZEBOV) between pigs was demonstrated experimentally. Here we show ZEBOV transmission from pigs to cynomolgus macaques without direct contact. Interestingly, transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was never observed. Piglets inoculated oro-nasally with ZEBOV were transferred to the room housing macaques in an open inaccessible cage system. All macaques became infected. Infectious virus was detected in oro-nasal swabs of piglets, and in blood, swabs, and tissues of macaques. This is the first report of experimental interspecies virus transmission, with the macaques also used as a human surrogate. Our finding may influence prevention and control measures during EBOV outbreaks.

Concepts: Human, Influenza, Mammal, Primate, Ebola, Viral hemorrhagic fever, Simian, Crab-eating Macaque


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


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


Reconstructing the earliest phases of primate evolution has been impeded by gaps in the fossil record, so that disagreements persist regarding the palaeobiology and phylogenetic relationships of the earliest primates. Here we report the discovery of a nearly complete and partly articulated skeleton of a primitive haplorhine primate from the early Eocene of China, about 55 million years ago, the oldest fossil primate of this quality ever recovered. Coupled with detailed morphological examination using propagation phase contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography, our phylogenetic analysis based on total available evidence indicates that this fossil is the most basal known member of the tarsiiform clade. In addition to providing further support for an early dichotomy between the strepsirrhine and haplorhine clades, this new primate further constrains the age of divergence between tarsiiforms and anthropoids. It also strengthens the hypothesis that the earliest primates were probably diurnal, arboreal and primarily insectivorous mammals the size of modern pygmy mouse lemurs.

Concepts: Primate, Phylogenetics, Bat, Lemur, Strepsirrhini, Fossil, Haplorrhini, 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


Caloric restriction (CR) without malnutrition increases longevity and delays the onset of age-associated disorders in short-lived species, from unicellular organisms to laboratory mice and rats. The value of CR as a tool to understand human ageing relies on translatability of CR’s effects in primates. Here we show that CR significantly improves age-related and all-cause survival in monkeys on a long-term ~30% restricted diet since young adulthood. These data contrast with observations in the 2012 NIA intramural study report, where a difference in survival was not detected between control-fed and CR monkeys. A comparison of body weight of control animals from both studies with each other, and against data collected in a multi-centred relational database of primate ageing, suggests that the NIA control monkeys were effectively undergoing CR. Our data indicate that the benefits of CR on ageing are conserved in primates.

Concepts: Human, Macaque, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Rodent, Monkeys in space, Old World monkey, Simian


Among the Strepsirrhini, molar size does not exhibit a consistent dietary signal when body mass is used to size-adjust molar dimensions. This observation is also true for anthropoid primates, but when postcanine size is expressed relative to the size of the facial skeleton in this clade, folivorous anthropoids tend to have relatively larger postcanine teeth than anthropoids in other dietary categories. The contrast in the results generated by these two independent size variables appears to be related to systematic differences in facial size in the Anthropoidea, particularly between short-faced colobines and long-faced cercopithecines. The goal of this study was to determine whether a similar pattern of relationships characterizes strepsirrhines. Data on molar area, facial size, body mass, and diet for forty-three extant strepsirrhines and seven subfossil lemurs were analyzed using phylogenetic generalized least squares. Results indicate that strepsirrhine folivores tend to have larger molars than frugivores relative to the size of the facial skeleton. Insectivorous species exhibit a wide range of variation in relative molar size that appears to be taxonomically patterned: lorisids in this dietary category resemble folivores, whereas galagids resemble frugivores. These results confirm the generality of the anthropoid pattern and support the idea that, in some contexts, it may be useful to consider elements of the masticatory system relative to their functional and developmental environments rather than to overall organismal size. The biological significance of having large postcanine teeth relative to the size of the face, but not body mass, is discussed with reference to a model that identifies the size of the oral cavity as the most functionally relevant standard for assessing the relative size of the postcanine dentition.

Concepts: Primate, Teeth, Lemur, Strepsirrhini, Fossil, Ring-tailed Lemur, Simian, Aye-aye


Increasing studies in human and animals have shown that personality is related to biological profile and affects health outcomes. Understanding the link between personality and health will contribute to preventing illness and promoting well-being in non-human primates. The present study examined whether personality predicted health outcomes in captive golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana). Personality was measured by rating on a list of traits and four factors (Aggressiveness, Sociability, Mellowness, and Excitability) were extracted. Morbidity was measured by occurrence, duration, and number of illnesses, as well as (mean and maximum) digestive dysfunction symptoms scores. Morbidity measurements were coded from illness history which was recorded during the 27 months since the personality assessment. The results showed that lower Aggressiveness predicted greater number of illness, longer illness duration, and more serious digestive dysfunction. In addition, Mellowness, Excitability, and age by Sociability interaction influenced digestive function significantly. Low mellow individuals, high excitable individuals, high sociable younger individuals and low sociable older individuals had poorer digestive function. The present study demonstrated that personality was associated with morbidity in captive R. roxellanae and stress might contribute to this association. Personality assessment provided useful information on individual vulnerability. Carefully looking for early signs of illness among vulnerable individuals is expected to reduce health risks, which would promote welfare in captive non-human primates.

Concepts: Human, Illness, Primate, Old World monkey, Snub-nosed monkey, Colobinae, Simian, Gray Snub-nosed 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