Is this muscular monkey only a primate in good posture?
Credit: Santeri Oksanen
A monkey at a zoo in Finland recently drew a lot of attention on social media for his unusually "buff" body, but she's not as muscular as she appeared.
In the photo, the primate – a monkey with a white-faced saki (Pithecia pithecia) named Bea – crouched on a branch of his enclosure at the Helsinki Zoo. Her arms, chest and legs are extremely bulky, unlike her shiny little face, which makes her look as muscular as a bodybuilder infused with steroids.
But in reality, the monkey muscles are not that impressive, and mass suggestion has been suggested by Bea ruffling his abundant fur, Live Zoo representatives told Live Science. [8 Humanlike Behaviors of Primates]
According to the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, white-faced sakis originate in Brazil and parts of Venezuela and Indonesia.
Bea, the head of the white-faced monkey zoo troupe, was born at the Helsinki Zoo and is nine years old, said zoo keeper Merja Wahlroos at Live Science in an email. On average, adult female monkeys weigh between 1.4 and 1.9 kilograms and measure 32 to 40 centimeters in length, "and the tail is usually as long as the body," said Wahlroos.
And although Bea has not been measured recently, its size is probably "at the top of the scale," said Wahlroos. Nevertheless, Bea's apparent appearance is not the result of rigorous weightlifting and protein shake; it's rather an illusion created by its thick fur coat, the representatives of the zoo explained in a tweet.
It's Bea. She is in shape but it's not her muscles. She shows her fur and frowning eyebrows. Bea is the leader of a white-faced saki troupe at the Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki. #korkeasaari #helsinkizoo @ nypost @Fox News pic.twitter.com/yLYCnUl7kF
– Helsinki Zoo (@Korkeasaari) March 18, 2019
Finnish photographer Santeri Oksanen took this picture in February; he was visiting the zoo to practice taking pictures of wildlife, which he later shared on Flickr, he told Live Science in an email. While Oksanen was outside the habitat of the monkey troop, Bea took "this epic pose" and surveyed his territory; at that moment, Oksanen captured the photo that became viral thereafter.
"Bea's expression could not be better," said Oksanen.
Little is known about the social habits of saki in the wild, but in captivity, monkeys generally live in small family groups of four, and the most common group consists of parents and children, explained Wahlroos. But saki monkeys can also form groups of several males or females containing up to 12 monkeys. Men generally dominate groups in captive populations, but the hierarchy of groups is flexible and sometimes women – like Bea – assume leadership, said Wahlroos.
As for Bea's fab floofiness, many types of animals inflate their fur (or their feathers) to look bigger and more intimidating when they are threatened. However, saki monkeys are generally not aggressive to each other, and an unusual teddy such as Bea's display "is usually only used to show other members of the group," Wahlroos said.
"One could improve the powerful appearance by shaking a branch vigorously," she added.
Originally published on Science live.