The Incredible Communication Skills Of The Green Monkey

Smarter than we think, this species of monkey uses acoustic signals to avoid its predators and protect its family group.
The Incredible Communication Skills of the Green Monkey

The green monkey is a very little known species, despite having incredible communication skills, and being one of the species that has contributed the most to modern medicine. Unfortunately, thousands of them have been used in the medical industry for vaccine development.

Today, luckily, this practice is less common every day, and animals are replaced by cell cultures. This allows this primate to no longer be captured for this purpose and, although in the United States they are used as pets, it is one of the few primates that is not in danger of extinction.

This cercopiteco, called “green” due to its golden color with greenish details, is a very particular animal species. It was discovered that they use  a complex communication system, which resembles that of a human being in many respects. This shows us that animals can have complex behaviors very similar to humans.

The Green Monkey Communication

This is one of the best known examples of communication between animals, being studied in the 1980s, in the Amboseli park, in Africa. What the researchers noticed was that the green monkey had specific warning sounds for each predator.

green monkey

Specifically, three call sounds were documented, which resulted in three strategies. We are talking about alert vocalizations for leopards, snakes and birds of prey, which are easily differentiated even by humans.

It was observed that the more experienced the animal, the more specific the call was, and even in the case of instinctual vocalizations, the recognition of dangers was linked to learning.

Thus, young green monkeys and chicks easily mistake large birds (such as the stork) for a predator, and alert the group as if it were a bird of prey. Little by little, they learn to recognize their predators, and finally, as adults, they are able to differentiate the vultures from the rest of the prey, as these are scavengers that are not predators of the green monkey.

Different calls, different answers

These alarms trigger different responses. The first is to watch the area until the watchman sounds the alarm. If the danger is in big cats, like the leopard, the monkeys run to the top of a tree and stay between the branches farthest from the trunk, which the leopard cannot reach because of its weight.

green monkey communication

However, if it’s an approaching snake, the green monkeys stand on two legs, prepared to jump in the face of an attack and retreat from the area while trying to locate the danger.

In the case of eagles, these primates watch the sky and try to hide among the weeds.

This species also has warning sounds for other dangers, which even if not so studied, are very interesting. Green monkeys have warning sounds for other primate species that are dangerous to them, such as baboons or even humans.

This is important, as green monkeys are considered a pest in many parts of Africa, having a conflicting relationship with humans. Unfortunately, many die from being run over, attacked by dogs or even poisoned.

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