Monkeys Chew the Cud

Eating your greens can be grueling, especially if you are a monkey who dines on a high fiber diet. Some primates overcome their digestive dilemma by hosting microbes in their guts that help them breakdown the tougher leaves, much like cows do. Cows and other ruminants also maximize this symbiotic relationship by regurgitating and rechewing their stomach contents to get the most out of each meal. This behavior was considered unique to four-legged herbivores. Now researchers have witnessed proboscis monkeys that live in the mangroves and swamps of Borneo doing the same (see the video). This is the first evidence that primates ruminate, too, reports the team online today in Biology Letters, and gives us all something to chew over.

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