Human, All Too Human


This is not (necessarily) a political post.

WC has been birding in the Pantanal, in southwestern Brazil. While the birding has been good, there have been an unusual number of New World monkeys.

(A word about jungle canopy photography: it’s dark under there. When you photograph a subject against the brighter sky, it’s seriously difficult to get anything but a silhouette. To deal with that problem, you have to over-expose, cranking up the exposure compensation (“EV”) a bunch. That allows detail in the otherwise dark subject, but blows out the brighter sky. The alternative is flash, which doesn’t work well with all the sticks, leaves and branches, and disturbs the animals as well. So you’ll see a lot of over-exposed backgrounds in these shots.)

Black Howler Monkeys (Alouatta caraya) are the most common monkey in this part of the Pantanal. The juveniles and females are varying shades of brown.

Female Black Howler, Pantanal, Brazil

Female Black Howler, Pantanal, Brazil

Has WC mentioned that it is incredibly hot in the Pantanal? Even the monkeys look overheated. All of the birds are panting. This lady was draped over the branch until WC disturbed her.

Male Black Howler, Pantanal, Brazil

Male Black Howler, Pantanal, Brazil

All of the adult males in a troop of this species get to breed. Black Howlers are also the most lazy – sedate, if you prefer – of all New World Monkeys, spending 70% of their time sleeping an loafing.

The Black-striped Capuchin is a smaller, probably more intelligent, tool-using New World monkey.

Black-Striped Capuchin, Pantanal, Brazil

Black-Striped Capuchin, Pantanal, Brazil

It was the first non-ape primate where tool usage was documented in the wild, as individuals have been seen cracking nuts by placing them on a stone “anvil” while hitting them with another large stone.

Black-striped Capuchin, Pantanal, Brazil

Black-striped Capuchin, Pantanal, Brazil

The Capuchin can be a pest to a birder; they will follow you around, probably out of curiosity. That drives the birds away.

Finally, WC encountered Silvery Marmosets (Mico argentite).

Silvery Marmoset, Pantanal, Brazil

Silvery Marmoset, Pantanal, Brazil

Admittedly, none of these primates had feathers. But contrary to certain reports, WC does photograph things besides birds.

It’s not political at all. Any possible political connections are left as an exercise for readers.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Human, All Too Human

  1. What exquisite pictures — and what a cool way to spend some time! Congrats!

    For some reason, I’ve become hooked on YouTube videos of non-human primates (in particular, the great apes like chimps and bonobos and also the larger species of monkeys like capuchins) chiefly because their relationships and interactions SO closely mirror those of humans.

    I don’t have the link but there’s this one of a family of Howler Monkeys that gets drunk on fermented figs and starts brawling with the other monkeys and then try to lie their way out of it.

    Then they pick lice off each other.

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