A group of experts from the University of Tokyo, the University of Calgary, and Tulane University have seen an instance of cannibalism among wild white-faced capuchin monkeys. This study has mentioned an incident of cannibalism where an adult capuchin monkey has been spotted eating the remains of a 10-day-old infant. The findings of the report have been released on the open-access site Ecology and Evolution. Scientists have said that cannibalism has been noticed in a variety of wild animals. However, it is not prevalent in mammals. Experts have joined in the decade long study of white-faced monkeys in the Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica.
Experts have seen that a 10-day old infant monkey has fallen from a tree. Although the mother has come to save the baby but has failed to revive. After realizing that the infant is no more, the mother has left the body of the infant on the forest floor and started wandering. A few minutes later, a two-year-old monkey has approached the dead infant and started biting on its fingers. After some time, a 23-year-old alpha female has joined him and started chewing on the infant’s feet and toes. Experts have noted that cannibalism becomes more prevalent in the time of food shortage. However, it has been different in the case of monkeys they have been observing. They have seen that normally when a young capuchin monkey dies; the mother carries it off into the forest away from other monkeys of the group. In the latest example, the mother has been quite young and she has been clueless about what to do when her young infant has died. This might explain why other monkeys in the group have decided to eat it.
Experts have said that cannibalism is quite unusual among monkeys as there is a high risk of contracting some type of disease. The incident of cannibalism in the capuchin monkey has been the first-ever occurrence in the species. These animals are omnivorous; however, they rarely eat something, which they have not hunted on their own. After the young male and old female monkeys have left the remains of the dead infant after eating its hands and lower extremities, experts have used the corpse of the baby monkey for further studies.