The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Large-Headed Capuchin - Issue Thirty-Eight
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The Lar Gibbon  from Christiano Artuso The Large-Headed Capuchin is a highly intelligent New World monkey species found in the South American countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, living in the Amazon lowland and submontane habitats. In Colombia they live in deciduous and evergreen forests, but they prefer habitats with an abundance of palm trees where they eat the fruit. They are primarily frugivorous and insectivorous. They also eat invertebrates-and even eat small vertebrates, like frogs or small mammals. Most of their food consists of fruits, leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. Their fur is coarse and thick. As far as coloration goes, they are mostly dark: their limbs and tail are a dark brown, while the hair about their backs and shoulders is a lighter shade of brown, erring toward tan, and lighter still on their stomachs. Their faces are rimmed with white hair, with black around the eyes and snout, almost resembling a raccoon. They have long, strong thick prehensile tails which can be used like an additional limb. Males are generally larger than females. A typical adult male large-headed capuchin weighs about 3 kg, though they can be as small as 1.35 kg and as large as 4.8 kg. Adult females range from 1.76-3.4 kg, but on average weigh about 2.4 kg. The body length of these monkeys is typically about 55.9 cm, and their tails equal their bodies in length. They are diurnal and arboreal. They leave the trees to forage for their food, and are known as extractive foragers-they look for their food embedded in the ground, and take the necessary measures to obtain it. Capuchins are the only monkeys other than chimpanzees that have been observed using tools to extract their food from the ground in the wild. When it's time to eat, the dominant male gets first dibs, and those who he's closest with-females or younger monkeys-are allowed to eat while the lower-ranked monkeys must wait their turn. The typical size for a group of large-headed capuchins is around 18 monkeys, though populations in Brazil have been noted to be as small as 7 individuals and as many as 21. Groups consist of more females than males. Large-headed capuchins are preyed upon by large birds, and keep a look-out for threats from above. They are so wary of birds, they fear them all indiscriminately. They attract mates by urinating on their hands and then rubbing them together-a common practice among tufted capuchins. They use various vocalizations, including alarm calls and calls to reorganize the group, while foraging. They also utilize facial expressions. High-ranking individuals will bare their teeth at lower ranking individuals as a sign of approval; lower-ranking individuals will bare their teeth at each other as a sign of friendship. Tufted capuchins (of which the large-headed capuchin is a subspecies) have a gestation period of 180 days. Infants are born one at a time, and are extremely small-typically around 0.25 kg. Because of their small size, they are heavily reliant on their mothers, who feed their young for nine months and carry them around on their backs. As of 2015, the species was listed as Least Concern (IUCN, 2020). Their population is declining, however, which is a result of degradation of their habitat. Also, where their habitat coincides with human habitation, they're hunted heavily, sometimes for food. It has been reported that in some areas of Peru the large-headed capuchin has been hunted so heavily that they no longer occur in that portion of their range. There is also an illegal market for these monkeys, and they are sold for anywhere between 20 and 50 dollars apiece.


What Ravens Do


Geoffrey Miller

We speak in Urdu.

The shade of a plum tree ripples over bleached autumn grass; its blades are tired between my fingers. An unripe plum rolls in her palm, catching itself in the center where it trembles to stillness. The tree's rings are thick enough to assume I've nothing new to say but it welcomes her because the clouds have all gone north to hide ravens. Lahore is quiet, wrapped in the smells of diesel, pigeons, sweat and rain.

The milky eyes of an older man's brother I once knew stare at things we don't see. His fingers loop into the bottom of his beard only to re-evolve through the grays and whites of its bottom--again and again. He reminds me of a moth in a dried spider's web--ever breaking--before he steadies himself with a cane made using the traditions of the north.

A long breath carries the grass from away my fingers, "My name is Syed Khan."

I tell her it's a black spot on your eye. It's always here--or--there. "It watches us." Her head bobs like a kite on an ambitious length of twine and I see her doubt in the emerald scared white of her scarf. I think of my son before he died. She pulls her scarf to cover a cough of ginger and onions. "Do they scare you?"

It is against god to hope for death. "I am not afraid." Two younger men I still know now greet the older man with a handshake and kisses. I leave her, greet them both in the same way, and ask of their sons but she doesn't hear me. "They are from Huramzai." She doesn't ask if they've seen the ravens. The shorter brother has only one leg.

"Ahsan, my son, taught at the school in our village." Prayer beads are heavier than grass and the wind only prompts my fingers to caution. I know she hears my nail clicking against them through the noise of the family picnicking next to us; they're the reason she's here. She asks about the attack. "I'm a journalist."

The wife tears flat bread in half before passing the pieces to her sons. "There was a hole in the ground, bigger than half of our house." The husband opens containers and lends the spice of pepper to the air. I don't tell her about the stray dogs and the burning smells. "He's in paradise now; my son died a martyr so I didn't cry."

A dirty football grows impatient on the corner of their used carpet. "This is our country--who are they to judge us." There are fresh stains on the little boys' chemises but their father's still pepper reddened fingers are saying they have to wait. She swallows words about rights and repression. "If they want to fight us, they should come here and face us." This far south the sky is blue and the ravens don't hear him speak.

By early morning Geoffrey is a writer of flash and science fiction, some of which has appeared in Crack the Spine, Midway Journal and the Ilanot Review. By night he edits NUNUM and jogs very slowly.


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