from Scientific American (link):

What does a bookworm have in common with a black-tufted marmoset? They both like a little quiet. Or so say scientists in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. [Marina Duarte et al, Noisy human neighbours affect where urban monkeys live]

As urban areas continue to expand, their human inhabitants spread all sorts of pollution: air pollution, light pollution, even noise pollution. Each of these environmental encroachments affects the survival and behavior of local wildlife. And monkeys are no exception.

Scientists in Brazil were studying how marmosets in a city park cope with ambient noise. And they found that the monkeys tend to settle down in whatever part of the park is most quiet. On weekdays, the marmosets steered clear of the roar of traffic, and on Sundays they shunned the clamor of visiting crowds. They dodged all the din, even when moving meant that they had to leave behind the places that offered them the most food.

It could be that the monkeys are just skittish when it comes to unwelcome sounds. Or maybe they can’t hear what their friends are saying when it gets too loud. Either way, next time you see a cute little marmoset, forget “oooh” or “awwww” or “ee-ee-ee.” Try shhhh.

—Karen Hopkin

Can you imagine the life these monkeys would have?  Not only the noise, distraction, and the chaos, but the incessant assiduity of us larger primates always trying to get their attention, or to initiate some cute trick or banal chirp.  When I have retreated to a place of peace and quiet, whether in my head or in the middle of a forest, I suddenly feel a bit of healing that doesn’t happen any other time.  Unfortunately, that healing disappears in an instant when I return, as the pull of Life As It Is stretches the wounds open again.

photo credit: Darlene Bushue