Primate Rescue Center

University of Georgia to Retire Monkeys Used in Research

Erika Fleury November 17, 2013

Seven capuchin monkeys who for the past 17 years have helped University of Georgia scientists explore human and primate behavior are retiring to Florida.

During their time at the school, the capuchins provided researchers an intimate look at the similarities between primates and humans.

Scientists learned that monkeys were skilled at solving problems using tools, such as cracking nuts with heavy stones, along with overcoming minor challenges, such as arranging objects in a sequence by size.

UGA’s research was led by psychology professor Dorothy Fragaszy, whose studies produced more than 100 scientific papers about capuchins. Hundreds of UGA students have worked with the monkeys over the years, and almost 20 master’s theses and dissertations have been written based on research with the capuchins.

“I’m interested in adaptive behaviors and motor skills, how we get things done,” Fragaszy said. “Capuchins are little problem solvers who are extremely active with their hands and engaged with the physical world.”

It was Fragaszy’s decision to retire the UGA monkeys. She plans to focus on her field work with other capuchins in Brazil.

The monkeys will leave Georgia in the spring and head to the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville, Fla. Jungle Friends, a nonprofit organization, is currently home to 120 monkeys from across the country who have been abused, confiscated by authorities, retired from research or are former pets.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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