The Natural History of Model Organisms: The rhesus macaque as a success story of the Anthropocene
Of all the non-human primate species studied by researchers, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is likely the most widely used across biological disciplines. Rhesus macaques have thrived during the Anthropocene and now have the largest natural range of any non-human primate. They are highly social, exhibit marked genetic diversity, and display remarkable niche flexibility (which allows them to live in a range of habitats and survive on a variety of diets). These characteristics mean that rhesus macaques are well-suited for understanding the links between sociality, health and fitness, and also for investigating intra-specific variation, adaptation and other topics in evolutionary ecology.
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Article and author information
National Institutes of Health (R01-AG060931)
- Eve B Cooper
- Lauren JN Brent
- Noah Snyder-Mackler
- James P Higham
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Helena Pérez Valle, eLife, United Kingdom
- Received: February 25, 2022
- Accepted: July 7, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 8, 2022 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: July 21, 2022 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: August 2, 2022 (version 3)
© 2022, Cooper et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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