Opened in 2008, Living Links is a field station and research centre of the University of St Andrews, established in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Edinburgh Zoo. It has large outside and inside enclosures in which capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys live together. These species form mixed-species groups in the wild.
Living Links is designed to support studies by scientists at the Universities of St Andrews, Stirling, Edinburgh and Abertay, who together form the Scottish Primate Research Group (SPRG). Members of SPRG study primate behaviour at many field-sites in the wild, as well as in captivity.
We humans are primates, so monkeys and apes are our closest animal relatives. They are ‘living links’ to the ancestors from which we all evolved. It is for this reason the Centre’s full title is the ‘Living Links to Human Evolution’ Research Centre. Understanding the origins of the human mind is one of the main reasons we study these animals.
‘Living Links’ was created through a generous grant from the Strategic Research Development Scheme of the Universities’ Scottish Funding Council, which recognises peaks of excellence in Scottish science.
‘Living Links’ is affiliated with the Zoo’s Budongo Trail exhibit where SPRG scientists also study chimpanzees, and with the Living Links Center of Emory University, USA.