Shocked, shocked to find some macaques hurt young!
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:
ATLANTA––Thirty-five years of records
pertaining to the sooty mangeby and pigtail macaque
colonies at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research
Center show that about 5% of their newborns are abandoned
by their mothers, who tend to be the least experienced
mothers, while another 5% to 10% are actively
abused by mothers who range in age and tend to repeat
the abuse with successive offspring.
This parallels the rates of infant neglect and
child abuse in humans, and is reason, argued
researchers Dario Maestripieri and Kelly A. Carroll in
the May 1998 edition of Psychological Bulletin, that
the use of nonhuman primates in researching neglect
and abuse should be stepped up.
That path was previously taken by the late
Harry Harlow, who from 1935 until 1971 used isolation
chambers and severely abusive mechanical mothers
to induce insanity in young macaques at the
University of Wisconsin at Madison. Observing that
the abused females rejected normal relations with
males, Harlow artificially inseminated them on a socalled
“rape rack,” then studied their habits of killing,
maiming, and otherwise abusing the resultant infants.
Harlow’s findings became standard textbook
fare, but when he relocated to the University of
Arizona for the last years of his life and career, disgusted
Wisconsin colleagues promptly demolished his
Although some use of nonhuman primates in
child neglect and abuse-related research continues at
other institutions, the Harlow work––considered outstanding
at the time––is now generally seen as obsolete,
and has been supplanted in most texts by information
gathered from actual child neglect and abuse cases.
University of California at Davis primatologist
William A. Mason rebutted Maestripieri and
Carroll in the same issue of Psychological Bulletin,
contending that the complexity of human society produces
forms of stress and resultant abuse that might not
be replicable in nonhuman primates.