Storms and ocean cur­rents car­ried mon­keys

Science Illustrated - - NATURE - CLAUS LUNAU

A long se­ries of un­likely events sent a few mon­keys across thou­sands of km of open sea. The mis­sion ought to have come to a bad end, but the mon­keys ended up con­quer­ing South Amer­ica.

MON­KEYS SAIL ON THE RIVER Mon­keys and other an­i­mals can take refuge on the rafts, which might mea­sure thou­sands of m2. After heavy rain, the river might carry the raft to 2 the ocean. O C E A N C U R E N T AT­LANTIC OCEAN LONG JOUR­NEYS ON OCEAN CUR­RENTS The raft is cap­tured by the South Equa­to­rial Cur­rent, which car­ries it west across the At­lantic Ocean. The jour­ney to South Amer­ica takes at least 2-3 weeks. En route, the mon­keys can feed on plants, in­sects, and rain­wa­ter, that have col­lected 3 on the raft. NA­TIVES THREATEN NEW­COM­ERS The dan­gers are not over, once the mon­keys have landed. But in spite of new, un­known dis­eases and dan­ger­ous preda­tors – in­clud­ing 2-m-high ter­ror birds – the mon­keys sur­vive and es­tab­lish a new pop­u­la­tion in South Amer­ica. 4 SOUTH AMER­ICA PLANTS MAKE UP RAFT Nat­u­ral rafts are pro­duced in many lakes and swamps– par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing storms, when lots of branches, roots, and aquatic plants are ac­cu­mu­lated by the cur­rent. 1

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