Neuroscientist Nicho Hatsopoulous and his team taught monkeys that lost limbs through accidents how to control a robotic arm. The work has profound implications on what they call the brain-machine interface.
Via University of Chicago
“That's the novel aspect to this study, seeing that chronic, long-term amputees can learn to control a robotic limb,” said Nicho Hatsopoulos, PhD, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at UChicago and senior author of the study. “But what was also interesting was the brain’s plasticity over long-term exposure, and seeing what happened to the connectivity of the network as they learned to control the device.”
Here's the basic setup in a similar lab with non-amputee monkeys. The monkey gets juice or some other treat for successfully completing the tasks.
Here's a detailed lecture on the current work in the field:
• Changes in cortical network connectivity with long-term brain-machine interface exposure after chronic amputation (via University of Chicago) Read the rest
Feels good, man. Read the rest
Jake Gardiner was walking in the woods in the foothills of La Crescenta, a suburb of Los Angeles, when he heard rustling in the trees. He recorded video on his mobile phone and later noticed what many are saying looks like an ape-like creature swinging around the branches.
“It could be some kind of ape, it also could be a bear, it could be a large bird,” says Andrew Hughan, a spokesman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
He added that it could be someone's pet but it's difficult to say based on the blurry video and lack of physical evidence.
“It’s an interesting mystery right at the moment, and we'll see what happens," he says.
(Los Angeles Times)
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Tourist Maykool Coroseo Acuña, 25, was lost in the Bolivian Amazon for nine days. He says that he was only able to survive thanks to "a group of monkeys, who dropped him fruit and lead him to shelter and water every day." And that isn't even the strangest part of the story surrounding Acuña. From Elizabeth Unger's fascinating article in National Geographic:
(Tour organizer Feizar Nava) had invited the tourists at the lodge to participate in a Pachamama ceremony—a tradition involving coca leaves, candles, and cigarettes—to thank Pachamama, or Mother Earth, for giving them permission to enter the forest.
When Maykool was asked to join the ceremony alongside the group, he had refused, Feizar said. And when a guide had returned to his cabin to check on him, he was nowhere to be found. The amount of time that had passed between when Maykool was last seen and when someone went back for him was only five minutes.
Panicked, Feizar and his guides checked every inch of the lodge. Maykool wasn’t there. The group headed out into the rainforest with flashlights. They searched until five in the morning, to no avail. Maykool seemed to have completely vanished.
“It’s because he offended the Pachamama.” Feizar said. “He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”
"Lost Tourist Says Monkeys Saved Him in the Amazon" (Nat Geo) Read the rest
Dangit human. put some muscle in it
This little monkey is trying her hardest to train a limp-limbed human how to crack open a nut with a rock. When she realizes the human isn't making much of an effort, she looks up with an expression that says, "Wtf‽ Help me out here, hairless ape covered in fibers!"
Similarly: Monkey teaches human how to crush leaves Read the rest
To these monkeys, people are just machines that make dental floss. Read the rest
In 2011 a crested macaque in Indonesia took a selfie using photographer David J. Slater's camera. After Slater claimed copyright of the photo, PETA sued on behalf of the monkey, claiming it was the copyright holder. But in January a federal judge tossed out the lawsuit, ruling that non-human animals are not allowed to own a copyright.
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The monkeys of Shimla, India are not to be trifled with by other primates.
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In this heartwarming example of interspecies friendship, a monkey named Fedor makes haste to visit his pet chickens and goat.
[via] Read the rest
A drunk monkey turned "belligerent" at a bar in Brazil, reports Arede, grabbing a knife, pursuing patrons and climbing onto the roof.
After the tiny primate—said to live at the bar—downed a glass of rum and armed itself, firefighters had to be called to subdue it. The monkey was later released to the wild, according to the report, but was spotted menacing homeowners on the outskirts of town. After recapture, local authorities now plan to move the monkey to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources for evaluation. Read the rest
When an alternate explanation for what is being depicted in his Year of the Monkey poster was offered to illustrator Lehu Zhang, he said:
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that he can now see “some sexual things” in the work, but swears he didn’t intend that. “I’m not angry,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I’m just a little bit surprised, a little bit worried.”
Oh, my heart! An amazing human/primate interaction, caught on video. Read the rest
In the northern Indian city of Shimla, a monkey burgled 10,000 rupees from a home, climbed a tree, and threw the bills down one-by-one on passers-by. This isn't the first such incident either. Read the rest
New Delhi government officials have hired 40 young men to wear monkey masks and jump around outside the parliament buildings in an attempt to scare off macaques wreaking havoc on the grounds. From the AFP:
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The NDMC, the body tasked with providing civic services, said the men were “very talented” and had been trained to “closely copy” the noises and actions of the more aggressive langurs to scare away the smaller rhesus macaques.
“They often wear a mask on their faces, hide behind the trees and make these noises to scare away the simians,” NDMC chairman Jalaj Srivastava told AFP.
China's air force has trained macaques to fight off birds nesting at an air base. The risk is that birds could interfere with the planes' engines. According to a CNN translation of a post on the People's Liberation Army Air Force site, "The monkeys are loyal bodyguards who defend the safety of our comrades." Read the rest
Opening tonight at Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery, Lindsey Carr's "La Petite Singerie," a wonderful collection of aristocratic primate portraits. Also hanging, Marco Mazzoni's "Naturama" sketchbook pages and pen drawings of animals. View the artwork online! Read the rest