Re: Rafting Monkeys
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From: Bernard Harper
Sent: Saturday, January 1, 2022 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [AAT] Rafting Monkeys
Christmas 2021 edition of New Scientist has a very interesting research review on page 50: On a Raft and a Prayer
IN DECEMBER 2016, Uwe Fritz at the Museum of Zoology in Dresden, Germany, was doing fieldwork in Colombia when something incredible crossed his path. While chugging across a vast expanse of wetland, he passed an enormous floating island complete with tall trees and a resident colony of howler monkeys. “Have you ever seen a howler monkey?” says Fritz. “They’re huge! But the trees were large enough so the monkeys can permanently live in them. They do not swim.” All told, the island covered an area about the size of two Olympic swimming pools. Fritz later told a collaborator, Jason Ali at the University of Hong Kong. Ali’s jaw hit the floor. “For me, it was just a random observation,” says Fritz. “But he is the floating island guy. He has worked on them for years, but never seen one.” Ali is one of the leading advocates of one of the most controversial ideas in evolutionary biology: that the presence of certain species in certain places can only be explained by long-distance maritime voyages.