Female golden snub-nosed monkeys share nursing of young

February 21, 2019, University of Western Australia
A mother is simultaneously suckling two infants in the same social unit. Credit: Zuofu Xiang

An international team of researchers including The University of Western Australia and China's Central South University of Forestry and Technology has discovered that female golden snub-nosed monkeys in China are happy to feed other monkeys' offspring.

The research, published today in Science Advances, revealed that almost 90 per cent of infant golden snub-nosed monkeys were nursed by females other than their mother.

An found in the seasonally cold mountainous forests of south-west China, the golden snub-nosed is an Old World monkey lives in complex social groups.

Co-author Dr. Cyril Grueter, senior lecturer in UWA's School of Human Sciences, said although humans had been known to practise wet nursing over many centuries, little was known about the practice in our primate relatives.

A neonate (one day old) is touched and carried by others females in the same social unit. Credit: Ruoshuang Liu
"What we found was that the milk sharing was confined to the first three months of the infant monkey's life and it occurred predominantly between related females who shared nursing duties in a reciprocal manner," Dr. Grueter said.

"Infants that received additional doses of milk from other than their mother had a higher chance of surviving.

"We believe that this behaviour may provide a buffer for and young against the vagaries of their harsh environment."

A mother is simultaneously suckling two infants in the same social unit. Credit: Zuofu Xiang

Explore further: 'Lipstick'-wearing males fare better in monkey business

More information: Zuofu Xiang et al. Routine allomaternal nursing in a free-ranging Old World monkey, Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav0499

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5 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2019
For 100s of millions of years theses golden snub-nosed monkey
have lived in their harsh environment out of harm's way
even today they are still out of harm's way
how these monkeys babies have managed to survive monkeylet hood is a mystery
with all that violent tugging and pulling will certainly put them on the endangered list millions of years ago
its not human monkeys that have put these snub-nosed monkey on the endagered list
Its the monkeys that have endagered selves
when animals
share the burden of feeding
monkey sitting
The animals are not an endangered species

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