Discover Monkey Island in One Hour – Video

Discover Monkey Island in One Hour – Video

Monkey Island | 60 Minutes

The video titled “Monkey Island” takes you on a fascinating 60-minute journey to a remote island off the coast of Puerto Rico called Kyo Santiago, also known as Monkey Island. Scientists have been studying the effects of environmental crises on the health and longevity of Reese’s macaque monkeys on this island, given that their DNA is 94% similar to humans.

Leslie Stahl and her team were granted rare access to this isolated island, where they discovered a social hierarchy among the 1,800 monkeys living there. The researchers have been meticulously documenting the monkeys’ behaviors, including aggression, grooming, vigilance, and feeding.

The island was hit by a devastating hurricane, causing significant damage to the vegetation and posing a threat to the survival of the monkeys. However, to the scientists’ utter astonishment, most of the monkeys managed to survive, even though they lost 2/3 of their vegetation.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, the monkeys have had to adapt to a new, more hostile environment, presenting challenges for the researchers attempting to replant trees and provide shade. Despite the adversity, the monkeys continue to display remarkable adaptability and resilience, offering valuable insights into the impact of extreme weather events on both animals and humans.

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Video Transcript

With extreme weather events on the rise across the globe like the rare Category 5 hurricane that hit Mexico in October we were interested in a study that’s taking place on a remote island very few people are allowed to visit where scientists are studying how the stress of these environmental crises affect

Longevity and overall health as Leslie stall first reported in November the subjects are not what you’d expect they’re monkeys Reese’s macak monkey who’ve been studied there for over 80 years because 94% of their DNA is the same as humans they survived with relative environmental stability until 6

Years ago when the island was hit with a devastating storm after taking tests for tuberculosis measles and covid Leslie and her team were allowed to visit the island called Kyo Santiago or Monkey Island off the coast of Puerto Rico the story will continue in a moment there are roughly 1,800 monkeys

On Kyo they live in isolation and what is a natural laboratory halfway between captivity and the way they would live in the wild yeah are they fighting yeah yeah she’s looking around and screaming for help trying to get others to come to her Aid wow biologist James hyim of NY

You and Noah Snider Macker of Arizona State University are part of a team of investigators in this long-term research project what’s the lifespan usually the lifespan here on the island for the females the median lifespan is about 18 years and then in males about about 15

Years right do they have is there a predator is there any no Predators here another way life here is unlike the wild is that these guys are serve their meals every Morning researchers tell us there’s a hierarchy the highest ranking monkeys get to eat first I’ve even seen high ranking individuals go up to a lower ranking individual who is eating food in their mouth and hold their mouth open and take the food out of their mouths and

Ankles what did they get Purina monkey Chow there’s monkey Chow made by Kina oh my goodness rees’s monkeys are commonly used for medical research because there are close relatives genetically and physiologically similar to humans they have systems that are quite like us eyes that are like us lungs and hearts that

Are like us these reesus macac monkeys their ancestors came here from India in 1938 the ma is used in larger numbers for medical and Zoological research than any other kind of primate American primatologist Clarence Carpenter took 500 of them on a grueling 14,000 M sea voyage that lasted 51 days he wanted to

Create a naturalistic research facility to study the monkey social and sexual behaviors their early years here were tough many died from disease but enough of them lived on so that by the 1950s scientist began tattooing them and taking a daily census that meticulous recordkeeping has continued with today’s monkeys all of

Whom descended from the original group giving scientists rare access to more than six Decades of their biological and behavioral data one of the things they learned is that they’re highly adaptable acclimating quickly to the island they also learn that they can be quite aggressive especially around food

And during The Mating Season are these monkeys intelligent sure they’re they’re pretty so they’re pretty intelligent you know they’re socially intelligent how similar to us are they and how they live they form really strong social relationships with their um best friends and their family members they have best

Friends some close friends some best friends right rees’s monkeys live in female Le Society Mothers Daughters aunts and grandmothers stick together in groups while the males leave when they reach maturity and join other troops for breeding few people know the troop tensions and allegiances better than research assistants Daniel Phillips and

Hosway Negron who’ve worked on Kyo for years they arrive Every Morning by boat at 700 a.m. and for the next 7 hours they document things like aggression grooming vigilance and feeding do you ever get to know individuals in other words you know that monkey versus that

One yeah yeah we we need to recognize them right away because I need to know like who is interacting with who how they like groom each other or attack each other and how can you tell the difference what what are the characteristics that you see you can see

The differences on even how they walk how they move their even faces have differences in other words their faces become as ordinary in a way to your eyes as human faces yes you recognize even families exactly like your face is familiar you shouldn’t you should be the son of this

Female everything changed for the research and the mon monkeys when hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico in September 2017 155 mph winds smashed into homes and Office Buildings destroying everything in sight including the power grid and communication systems nearly 3,000 people died there was no way for the

Team to get to Monkey Island and Angelina Ruiz lambid the then scientific director of Kyo 7 months pregnant at the time sheltered in her home outside of San Juan with her husband and two young children you thought the monkeys were all going to die we thought that the

Monkeys were going to die James hyim and Noah Snider mackler couldn’t get any news about their colleagues or the monkeys so two days after the storm the team came up with an idea and you hired helicopter we hired a helicopter they Enlisted the pilot to fly over Kyo and

Do a survey and they had a list of questions can he see any monkeys are they alive what is the status of the vegetation are the standing pools of water that they might be able to drink Angelina who had decided to go up with the pilot was

Horrified this is footage she shot from the helicopter and I see this destru like 80 plus years of work completely flattened this is Kyle before the hurricane with a dense canopy of trees and Lush foliage this is after a green Oasis turned brown buried in dead branches the island lost 2/3 of its

Vegetation heartbroken by what she was seeing from the air Angelina wanted a closer look but even on the ground she didn’t see any monkeys so then I get on the helicopter again back up again I need look they’re here and that’s where I see a social group running from the

Helicopter and it’s like oh there’s monkeys there’s still Kyo I think I estimated okay those that must be around like 300 400 monkeys or so out of 1,700 yes but once the staff was able to return and do a complete census on the ground they found to their utter

Astonishment that most had lived they estimated just about 50 had died and you’re thinking how could they survive this how could they how could they survive this it’s still a mystery what did the monkeys do to ride out the storm where did they Shelter From the wind and

What did they eat so one of the big questions is without being fed how are they nourished yeah so although the hurricane did dramatically devate the island one thing it also did was deposited a great amount of seaweed and algae onto the island and so one possibility is that the monkeys were

Eating more of this kind of vegetation which they still seem to enjoy after the hurricane the monkeys had to adjust to a new far more hostile environment their innate adaptability certainly helped so they they bulb up and down to try and stop themselves from falling forward six years after the storm the adjusting

Continues attempts to replant the trees have been styed because the monkeys ever curious about anything new in their environment uproot them before they have a chance to grow so now there’s very little shade this used to be almost forested right lots of space and shade now they’re forced to sit in a few

Shaded areas and so they’ve been clumped by the changing distribution of shade so an interesting thing that we saw is that individuals became more social not just more social the researchers have noticed that the monkeys are more tolerant of each other which at first seemed counterintuitive I’m thinking of humans

In a situation where there’s fewer resources and I see in my mind’s eye competition I see them saying get off my property or whatever but you’re saying that that it was the opposite here perhaps but there’s also famous examples of people pulling together yeah so I

Think it can go both ways we’re capable of great greed and competition and and cruelty but humans are also capable of great kindness and compassion and friendship and generosity and that kind of Duality exists in recist M societies too and I think anyone you talked to

Here in Puerto Rico would would bring up the fact that they you know the people of Puerto Rico sort of gelled and increased their support of one another in the face of this event Beyond observing their social interactions they were also able to track biological changes since they had access to blood

Tests done on the monkeys for 133 years so what we found is that individuals who had lived through the hurricane had immune systems that looked like they had aged an extra 2 years what is that in human years is it 6 to8 human years they

Aged 6 to8 years they aged six to eight human years oh my gosh through the trauma that was on average that’s the work that we’re trying to do right now is what makes some of these individuals more resilient to the hurricane right is the hypothesis that it has something to do with

Friendships we think that those individuals who were able to have stronger bonds stronger friendships might have been protected from this really stressful event the hurricane opened all new avenues of their research with questions such as what predicts who survives a catastrophe like an earthquake or a hurricane and how quickly they recover

So when you step back and look at your study in terms of climate related trauma or any kind of trauma are you expecting to find answers for survivability in these situations for human beings given the strong similarity between these primates these monkeys and us we know

That a lot of this the work that we’re doing and and the things that they might do to you know be more resilient to this might be translatable to humans to us and might provide ways for us to intervene and help buffer against the negative effects of these traumatic events

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Video “Monkey Island | 60 Minutes” was uploaded on 01/02/2024 to Youtube Channel 60 Minutes