Squirrel Monkeys, Salmon Migration, The Realness. Oct 12, 2018, Part 2

Oct 12, 2018, 09:17 PM

Squirrel monkeys have big brains for their size, they’re chatterboxes, and they’ve even been to space. There may even be parallels between squirrel monkey communication and the evolution of human language, says primatologist Anita Stone. She joins Ira to translate the culture of our primate cousins, and talks about what they can teach us about ourselves.

To be a salmon is to live an adventurous life: They hatch in freshwater streams, travel miles downstream to the ocean, and live years dodging predators in the open sea. But in order to reproduce, they must return back to that mountain stream, however far away. Research in 2014 confirmed that Pacific salmon can sense and respond to the Earth’s magnetic field—and that’s at least one component of how they find their home river. Now, a group of Atlantic salmon, descended from a group that’s spent 60 years in a landlocked lake, has also demonstrated this ability. Lead author Michelle Scanlon, a faculty research assistant in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, explains the implications of this behavior for both wild Atlantic salmon and in populations kept, as many are, in fish farms nationwide.

Plus: anthropologist Heather McKillop uncovered clues of a vast Mayan salt production system off the coast of Belize that may have been used to preserve fish and a place for trade. McKillop tells us how the Maya may have produced salt, and what this reveals about the economy of the civilization.

And “The Realness,” a new podcast from WNYC Studios, tells the story of America’s relationship to sickle cell through Prodigy’s life, and death, from the disease.