Environment Cheeky monkeys milking it for all it’s worth

Cheeky monkeys milking it for all it’s worth

Breastfeeding their own babies is enough for most mums but what about somebody else’s?

Humans have practised wet nursing in various cultures at different times in history but research from The university of Western Australia reveals some animals do it too.

The university’s study of golden snub-nosed monkeys, an endangered species living in the seasonally cold mountains of southern China, shows females seem happy to feed the offspring of others.

Co-author of the study, Dr Cyril Grueter, says that the monkeys live in complex social groups which seems to help them survive harsh winters.

“What we found was that the milk sharing was confined to the first three months of the infant monkey’s life and it occurred predominantly between related females who shared nursing duties in a reciprocal manner,” Dr Grueter says.

“Infants that received additional doses of milk from females other than their mother had a higher chance of surviving.”

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