orangutan kondor_berlowitzchacma baboons with baby Non-Human Primates
Monkeys and apes, our closest living relatives, provide essential clues about the origin and nature of human behavior. Non-human primates alert us to the many, often uncanny similarities between humans and other animals, and the behaviors that define human distinctiveness. Studies of monkeys and apes in their natural settings in particular help us to model the ecological and social circumstances under which novel human behaviors arose.

CHES primatologists are conducting field studies of monkeys and apes in Indonesia and Kenya to learn more about the roots of human social behavior by examining the variety of ways in which these relatively large-bodied, brainy, and omnivorous mammals can make a living. The world of our researchers is also central to the conservation of our closest relatives and their natural habitats, many of which are threatened by human encroachment.