Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

White-faced capuchin monkey

Marty’s photo of the day #2831: This short excerpt from my second book, Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico, explains this shot, taken in Costa Rica:

Twice we had seen white-faced capuchin monkeys pass by our cabin. Both times, however, the monkeys were high in the trees and moving fast. One-half hour into our hike, we finally had the opportunity to see the monkeys a bit closer and for a little more time. You may not recognize the name white-faced capuchin monkey, but I bet you’ve seen one in an old photo. These are the traditional organ grinder monkeys that were part of novelty street performances, from the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century.

The monkeys were perhaps forty feet up in the trees, and we learned quickly that it was dangerous standing directly beneath them. They were eating hard softball-sized fruits that the locals call donkey balls. Apparently the fruits weren’t quite ripe, as the monkeys would take a quick taste, and then nonchalantly drop them. At first glance, the monkeys seemed wasteful, but those fruits weren’t going into some landfill. They were landing on the ground where they would become food for other animals, who in turn would continue the cycle by dispersing the seeds.

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