Monkey mothers 'coo' over babies 母猴会向小猴“说情话”
文章来源:未知 文章作者:meng 发布时间:2009-10-09 05:52 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

The tender interactions between mothers and newborns might not be limited to humans, scientists report.


The intense interactions only last for about a month
The intense interactions only last for about a month

Researchers have discovered that the way rhesus macaque(恒河猴) mothers bond with their babies strikes a remarkable1 resemblance(想象) to human behaviour.

The females make exaggerated facial expressions, kiss-like contacts and gaze intently at their babies.

The study, published in Current Biology, could help trace the origins of the mother-infant bond.

The researchers studied 14 mother-infant pairs over the first two months of their lives at the National Institute of Health's (NIH) primate2 centre in Maryland, US.

Professor Pier3 Ferrari, from the department of functional4 and evolutionary5 biology at the University of Parma, Italy, and the laboratory of comparative ethology at NIH, said: "We started to see that mothers had a very rich way of communicating with their infants."

The researchers found that the mothers would gaze intently at their newborns, sometimes even taking their baby's face with their hands and gently pulling it towards them to get an even closer look.

They would also engage in "lipsmacking" - an affectionate(情深的,充满情爱的) form of expression, where the macaques rapidly open and close their mouths.

Professor Ferrari added: "They also touch the infant's face with their mouths - as if they are trying to remove something.

"And this very much resembles(相似,类似) the kiss that we have in our own species.

"Possibly the evolution of the kiss might have originated from this kind of interaction."

And just as human babies respond to their mother's behaviour, baby macaques would react by returning their mother's gaze, or responding to lipsmacking with a similar gesture.

"The infant is not just a passive subject," Professor Ferrari told BBC News.

Short lived

However, unlike in humans, the researchers discovered that after approximately one month, the mother-infant exchanges in macaques became much less frequent or stopped.

Professor Ferrari said this could be down to the fact that macaque babies develop much more quickly than human babies; a two-week-old macaque baby is very roughly comparable to one-year-old human baby.

He added: "Independence from the mother occurs very early."

Professor Ferrari said that for years this kind of mother-baby interaction was thought to be a uniquely human trait - although more recently, some studies have suggested chimpanzees(黑猩猩) also share some of these emotional interactions with their babies.

He said: "Instead, we can trace the evolutionary foundation of those behaviours, which are considered crucial for the establishment of social exchange with others, to macaques."

Further study of macaques, he added, could help to shed light on(照亮,阐明) why these kind of interactions are important and also how they came about.


1 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
2 primate A1YzI     
  • 14 percent of primate species are highly endangered.14%的灵长类物种处于高度濒危状态。
  • The woolly spider monkey is the largest primate in the Americas.绒毛蛛猴是美洲最大的灵长类动物。
3 pier U22zk     
  • The pier of the bridge has been so badly damaged that experts worry it is unable to bear weight.这座桥的桥桩破损厉害,专家担心它已不能负重。
  • The ship was making towards the pier.船正驶向码头。
4 functional 5hMxa     
  • The telephone was out of order,but is functional now.电话刚才坏了,但现在可以用了。
  • The furniture is not fancy,just functional.这些家具不是摆着好看的,只是为了实用。
5 evolutionary Ctqz7m     
  • Life has its own evolutionary process.生命有其自身的进化过程。
  • These are fascinating questions to be resolved by the evolutionary studies of plants.这些十分吸引人的问题将在研究植物进化过程中得以解决。