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Small Monkeys Score Big on Father’s Day

In an article and video on the National Science Foundation (NSF) website, Stony Brook University Distinguished Professor Patricia Wright explains why owl monkeys and some other species of small monkeys are such devoted dads, providing most of the care needed by their offspring. This is a rare trait in the animal world, where males are often absent or even eat their young.

“I think it has something to do with size and with predators and a variety of other things, but it was beautiful to study that system,” said Wright. “Fathers really take care of the offspring 93 percent of the time.”

Wright spent many years researching owl monkeys in South America, with her work funded by the NSF. A renowned primatologist and conservationist, she has dedicated her life to protecting the lemurs, ecosystems and people of Madagascar, for which she won the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, the Nobel Prize of conservation. Her work is featured in the 2014 documentary film Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, narrated by Morgan Freeman. Wright is also the executive director of Centre ValBio, the University’s research campus in Madagascar.

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