Living Links Newsletter – February 2024

Welcome to the February edition of the Living Links newsletter,

your source of all things monkey and more!

What’s new at Living Links?


Three new researchers have recently joined the Living Links team; Krishan Muir (University of St Andrews), Agnes Hivet (ENS of Lyon) and Alanna Cuvelier (University of Edinburgh). Alanna and Krishan are conducting observational projects with the capuchins (learn more about Krishan’s project further below!) and Agnes is a visiting placement student who will help out on a number of projects, learning all about research at Living Links. You will hear more about their work in future newsletters, so watch this space!

New researchers Krishan, Agnes and Alanna

This month has seen a lot of  discussion around experimental apparatus design and pilot testing of materials amongst our researchers! Getting apparatus design right for both the experiment and for the monkeys is a very challenging but fun process. From the types of materials used, to the angles needed for food to slide down a tube, or how high a monkey can safely lift an object, getting apparatus right is a vital part of the research process. Learn more by reading our blog – click below!

Read more about the challenges of experimental apparatus design here!

Visitor Experience

As part of our colourful new look at Living Links you will notice the new Living Links Tree timeline in the central visitor area! This cleverly designed display by the RZSS Interpretation team tells the story of the amazing people who founded Living Links and the development of the research centre over the years. You can find QR codes dotted throughout which features some of our amazing accomplishments.

Monkey of the Month

Our (cheeky) monkey of the month for February is East group capuchin Cayenne! Cayenne is 5 years old and while he loves research, he does sometimes make it a little difficult for the researchers! He often keeps returning to the cubicles after he has already had his turn, and likes to use the area as his personal playground, sometimes banging the slides in play and scaring the other monkeys testing! His enthusiasm is infectious though, and with time he will learn to let other monkeys have their own time alone in the cubicles to do their training, testing and receive their own treats!  We love how much he enjoys research!

Question of the Month

Q: How do the Living Links monkeys get their names?

A: When a new baby is born in Living Links, the keeper that finds the infant is allowed to choose their name! A very special privilege!

You might notice that most of the monkeys have names inspired by South America, the region where these monkeys are native to! For example, Santi is named after Santiago, the capital of Chile.

Researcher of the Month

Our Researcher of the Month is Krishan Muir, an undergraduate student at the University of St Andrews who is conducting an observational study at Living Links.

While many of our researchers run experiments in our specially designed research rooms, other researchers study the natural behaviours of the monkeys in their enclosure. Krishan’s research focuses on whether capuchin monkeys exhibit contagious behaviours, like humans do. Krishan will be assessing yawning and scratching through an observational study of the capuchins from the East enclosure. Before starting any observational research, our researchers have to undergo the difficult task of learning to accurately identify all the monkeys who live in the wing in which they are researching. This skill will allow Krishan to identify which monkey viewed one of the contagious behaviours and allows him to determine if their perception of said yawn or scratch triggered them to yawn or scratch themselves.

Manuel yawning and Flojo watching

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