Researchers have traced the origins of a monkey colony living near an airport in urban south Florida to a chimpanzee farm, the Associated Press reports.
It adds that the monkeys have been living there for about 70 years, but their origins were unclear. Through a combination of interviews, searches of historical archives, and more, researchers from Florida Atlantic University found it was likely that the colony of wild African vervet monkeys was established following a 1948 escape from the Dania Chimpanzee Farm, as they report in the journal Primates. The facility imported monkeys from Africa for medical research and records suggested the escaped monkeys were originally from Sierra Leone.
FAU's Kate Detwiler and her colleagues further analyzed genetic markers from the monkeys, which confirmed their relationship to West African monkeys. In a statement, she notes that this finding will enable future studies into "the status of the population and how the monkeys have adapted to the urban and industrial environment of South Florida."